the need for fire protection, the New Hampton Hook and Ladder Company
was organized in 1877. A few years later, in 1880, the New Hampton
Engine Company was organized and in 1889, the New Hampton Hose Company
was added. That year, each department decided upon the maximum number
of members they would allow. The Engine Company could have up to 70
members, the Hook and Ladder Company could have no more than 40 members
and the Hose Company could have 30 members.
In 1896, the three companies were combined and housed
in a small wooden building located on the courthouse square. Under discussion
was a fire-house large enough to support the fire department, as well
as having an auditorium large enough for public programs.
During 1878, the fire department began fund-raising events such as dances
to raise money for the construction of a new station and to purchase
The department was able to purchase one of its first major pieces of
equipment, a hand pumper, from the Iowa City Fire Department in 1886.
By 1897, their dreams for a new station were about to come true. Construction
began on a two-story structure with room for housing the fire department
equipment and included an auditorium.
The station would be large enough to house a hook and ladder wagon,
two hose carts and a chemical apparatus. The auditorium was capable
of seating 3,000 people, with room for reception and offices before
the main floor and offices above the main floor. The building was
completed in 1898.
At that time all of the equipment used by the department was mostly
hand-powered. It wasn't until 1923 that the department purchased its
first motorized vehicle. It was a 1923 Packard car bought from the
Hawthorne Company at a cost of $3,400. In 1915, a chemical wagon was
acquired, but was not motorized.
After successfully financing a new station, the department
decided to raise money for another project. Plans for a first-class
opera house were finalized in 1916 and in early 1917, the Firemen's
Theater held its grand opening. It was built at a cost of $40,000.
The theatre was to house a variety of shows and entertainment for
not only New Hampton residents, but those of surrounding communities
Over the years, the theatre changed hands many times. In 1984, the
theatre closed its doors, but was reopened in 1987. The theatre was
again in business, but was lost due to arson and became one of the
department's most historical fires. Now, where part of the department's
history once stood, is a parking lot.
The New Hampton Fire Department was housed in a building
adjacent to City Hall from the 1940's to 2008. The building served
as the Fire Station for almost 70 years, being constructed late in
the late 1940s and was added onto in
the late 70s and '80s. As all additions were complete the building
was about 50'x65' and housed five trucks, a meeting
room, dressing area and restroom facilities.
The latest piece of history has been moving to a brand
new fire station constructed in 2008. The new station houses the departments
6 trucks, and mobile ATV and ATV trailer. It has a meeting room, offices
for the officers, and an office for the Chief. There are 8 bays in
the fire station with 3 of those bays being a complete drive through
bay. The station should serve the community for many years, as it
was built from quality materials, and should stand the test of time...
During the department's many years of service, they
have always tried to have the most efficient and up-to-date equipment.
Staying current with training and attending fire education programs,
as well as hosting fire education programs in the community, which
are just a few of the tasks in which the department takes pride.
Members meet on the first Monday of every month to
hold a business meeting and on the third Monday of every month, members
return for a training meeting.
Current equipment consists of three pumpers, one tanker and one grass
fire truck and an ATV.