Take a nostalgic look at some rare photographs of old Rochester and some of it’s earliest fire disasters, fire fighting vehicles, and the men who bravely served their community. These images give a rare insight into the history of Rochester New Hampshire and it’s residents.
Chief John F. Nute
Chief John F. Nute served as the chief from 1915 to 1938 when he died of a heart attack on June 22, 1938. He was 75 years old. He started on the department at age 14 as a “Torch boy”. A torch boy held a flaming torch in front of the hand drawn pumper to light the way for the firefighters enroute to a fire.
Members of the fire department stand at attention as the body of Chief Nute is taken from the Methodist Church on South Main Street.
Central Station 1922
Central Station in the summer of 1922
This was either a 4th of July celebration or a presidential visit in the summer of 1922. To the far left you can see the 2 newly purchased 1922 Model “A” Ford Fire Trucks for Gonic & East Rochester. Next to them you can see the 1916 American Lafrance Triple Combination Chemical Truck, besides that in the middle bay is the horse drawn Chemical Ladder Truck. It is unclear which Hose Company sits immediately to the right of the ladder company but to their right is the Lafrance Steamer purchased in 1917. At far right is an additional Hose Company of which identity is also unknown. Just to the right of the center bay immediately left of the dark horse is Chief Nute.
Hose Company 1
4 members of Hose Company 1.
We do not know the date of this picture or the names of the members in it.
Hose Company 1 and Ladder 6
A group of firefighters from Hose Company 1 and Ladder Company 6 taking a break after the Michael Block fire. The First National Stores building in the background better know to some as the old Woolworth Store and is now Citizen’s Bank, this building is still considered the Dodge Block.
Breeds Shoe Shop
Dodge Block Fire
First Steam Fire Apparatus
In 1917 Rochester purchased it’s first Steam Fire Engine used. This was Rochester’s only steam engine as far as city records report.
This photo was taken at the fairgrounds during a training exercise. Shown here are from left to right: Edward Emerson, Frank Grant, Fire Chief John Nute & Kirk Ricker.
First Motorized Fire Engine
Pictured here is Rochester’s first motorized fire apparatus. It is a 1916 American LaFrance Chemical Combination Truck. The purchase price was not to exceed $5,000.
In 1924 it was sent to Boston to have it’s solid rubber tires removed & replaced with pneumatic tires for improved ride & better handling. That same year Rochester purchased a 1924 American LaFrance Pumper and Ladder Truck. The 1924 Pumper has since been pristinely restored and is active during Fire Prevention Week and parades throughout the year.
This is Rochester Fire Engine # 2, a 1934 American LaFrance. It was purchased new and is shown here with it’s driver in 1940, Sam Locke.
Pictured here is Engine #5, a 600 gallon American LaFrance purchased new for $7,000. Ralph Seavy was it’s first driver.
This truck still runs and pumps great today. It consists of a straight eight cylinder dual ignition flathead engine & runs smooth.
Its current owner is the Kings & Queens Court in Lebanon, ME