Seattle Fire Department Chief's Correspondence, 1894-1951  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Seattle (Wash.). Fire Dept.
Title
Seattle Fire Department Chief's Correspondence
Dates
1894-1951 (inclusive)
Quantity
7.2 cubic feet, (19 boxes)
Collection Number
2801-01
Summary
Correspondence relating to Fire Department activities.
Repository
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
98124-4728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-233-7807
Fax: 206-386-9025
archives@seattle.gov
Access Restrictions

Records are open to the public.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for processing this record series was provided through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The creation of the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) can be traced back to July 6th, 1876, when the all-volunteer Seattle Engine Company No.1 was organized by a meeting of citizens convinced of their growing town's need for a dedicated fire-suppression capability. The various fire companies that appeared in proceeding years were similarly equipped and administered on a private basis until 1883, when the City Charter was amended to create and fund equipment, but not staff, for a centralized municipal fire department. The first fire chief of this new volunteer organization, Gardner Kellogg, would also become the first chief of the professionalized department in 1889, as well as the first Fire Marshall in 1901. The volunteer-based system persisted into the late 1880s, when the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 destroyed over 30 city blocks and resulted in approximately $12-16 million in damages. Under pressure from the insurance industry and its citizens, the city council acknowledged the inadequacy of a part-time force to meet the city's expanding need for fire protection. The council passed Ordinance No. 1212 in 1889, which reformed Seattle's seven volunteer companies into a paid, professional unit of 32 men organized into five district fire stations.

The decades following the birth of the professional SFD brought rapid increase in size and resources commensurate with Seattle's explosive growth rate; from an 1890 population of 42,000, the city's inhabitants numbered over 237,000 by 1910. Prominent developments included the creation of a maritime fire unit with the deployment of the fireboat Snoqualmie in 1891; the complete transition from horse-drawn to motorized fire engines in 1924; and the development of firefighter-staffed, emergency response "aid cars" during the 1930s. The SFD also participated in the historic founding of the International Association of Fire Fighters in 1918; the department's Local 27 constituted one of the union's 218 charter members. While the rigors of the Great Depression necessitated the temporary dissolution of 14 of the SFD's 55 operational companies, recovery was hastened by the threat of new fire hazards posed by World War II-era industrialization. Associated incidents, such as the 1943 Frye Slaughterhouse fire caused by the crash of a B-29 bomber, would severely tax the department's limited resources during this time.

The postwar SFD experienced a wave of significant material and organizational changes, one of the first being the Local 27-sponsored institution of the 8-hour day and 48-hour week for firefighters in 1947. Other important developments included the installation of two-way radio communication in first-line vehicles in 1950, the 1958 upgrading of the aid car program with stretcher-bearing station wagons, and the 1959 adoption of a new Fire Code based upon national standards. Throughout this time, the SFD's institutional mandate continued to evolve beyond basic fire suppression. In 1970, the department's new Medic One program initiated the training and deployment of firefighters as first-response paramedic units throughout Seattle. In 1980, the specially trained and equipped Hazardous Materials Response Unit was deployed to respond to incidents involving dangerous chemicals, including fires, spills, and suspected drug labs. Some of the most consequential changes to the SFD at mid-century did not concern equipment but equality, as the department admitted its first African-American firefighter (Claude Harris) in 1959 and its first female firefighter (Bonnie Beers) in 1977. The ongoing commitment to the recruitment and training of under-utilized applicant pools substantially diversified the department's make-up; of the 49 firefighters enlisted in 1993, 9 were female and 11 of minority status.

As of 2010, the SFD contains 1,020 uniformed personnel organized into 5 Operational Battalions and one Medic Battalion, which are employed running 33 engine-equipped fire stations, 11 aid and medic teams, 4 fireboats, and a host of other emergency resources. Several specialized units are used for hazardous materials response, marine response, search and rescue, and other incidents requiring extraordinary expertise. Under the control of the Fire Marshall's Office, the SFD administers an array of fire prevention efforts, including Fire Code enforcement, inspection of building fire plans and safety systems, public education programs, and the regulation of hazardous materials storage and use. In addition, the department provides leadership and personnel to several regional incident response organizations, such as FEMA's Urban Search and Rescue Teams and the Puget Sound Marine Response Consortium.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Correspondence relating to Fire Department activities. Includes information on equipment needs and purchases, departm ent budget, code violations, assessments of station sites, equipment and apparatus evaluations, and personnel matters. T he first two boxes contain outgoing correspondence in bound volumes for the years 1894 to 1928. Outgoing and incoming correspondence overlaps with the volumes and dates from 1903 to 1951. Included is correspondence from Chief Stetson with his son Horat io, who served in World War I. The correspondence is arranged chronologically by Chief. The numbers associated with some of the files are from the Fire Department's filing system.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item and date], Seattle Fire Department Chief's Correspondence, Record Series 2801-01. Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

2801-01:  Seattle Fire Department Chief's Correspondence, 1894-1951Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Fire Chief's Outgoing Correspondence. Volume 1 April 1894 - March 1899 (Note: Oversize)
1894-1899
1/2
Fire Chief's Outgoing Correspondence. Volume 2 March 1899 - March 1904
1899-1904
1/3
Fire Chief's Outgoing Correspondence.Volume 3 April 1904 - January 1906
1904-1906
1/4
Fire Chief's Outgoing Correspondence. Volume 4 February 1906 - May 1908
1906-1908
1/5
Fire Chief's Outgoing Correspondence. Volume 5 June 1908 - July 1911
1908-1911
1/6
Fire Chief's Outgoing Correspondence. Volume 6 July 1911 - July 1913
1911-1913
1/7
Fire Chief's Outgoing Correspondence. Volume 7 June 1913 - October 1915
1913-1915
2/1
Chief's Outgoing Correspondence October 1915 - May 1918 Volume 8
1915-1918
2/2
Chief's Outgoing Correspondence May 1918 - October 1920 Volume 9
1918-1920
2/3
Fire Chief's Outgoing Correspondence. Volume 10
1920-1922
2/4
Fire Chief's Outgoing Correspondence. Volume 11
1922-1925
2/5
Chief's Outgoing Correspondence March 1925 - January 1928 Volume 12
1925-1928
3/1
Chief Cook - Personnel Correspondence
1903-1905
3/2
Chief Cook - Personnel Correspondence
1904-1905
3/3
Chief Cook - Personnel Correspondence
1904-1905
3/4
Chief Cook - Correspondence
1906
3/5
Chief Bringhurst - Correspondence
1907
3/6
Chief Bringhurst - Correspondence
1908
3/7
Chief Bringhurst - Correspondence
1909-1910
3/8
Chief Mantor - Correspondence
1908-1930
3/9
Chief Clark - Correspondence
1911
3/10
Chief Stetson Correspondence
1913-1914
3/11
Chief Stetson Correspondence
1913-1914
3/12
Chief Stetson Correspondence
1914-1915
3/13
Chief Stetson Correspondence
1915
4/1
Chief Stetson Correspondence
1916-1920
4/2
Chief Stetson Correspondence
1916-1917
4/3
Chief Stetson Correspondence
1916-1919
4/4
Horatio Stetson (Son of Chief Stetson)
1917-1919
4/5
Chief Stetson Correspondence
1918-1920
4/6
Chief Stetson - Correspondence
1916-1919
4/7
Chief Stetson - Correspondence
1917
4/8
Chief Stetson - Correspondence (January - November)
1918
4/9
Chief Stetson - Correspondence (April - November)
1918
4/10
Chief Stetson - Correspondence (May-August)
1918
4/11
Chief Stetson - Correspondence
1919
4/12
Chief Stetson - Correspondence (April-December)
1919
4/13
Chief Stetson - Correspondence
1917-1919
5/1
Chief Stetson Correspondence - January - February
1920
5/2
Chief Stetson Correspondence - March -Aprl
1920
5/3
Chief Stetson Correspondence - April - May
1920
5/4
Chief Stetson Correspondence - June - July
1920
5/5
Chief Stetson Correspondence - May - December
1920
5/6
Chief Stetson Correspondence - May - December
1920
5/7
Chief Mantor Correspondence
1920-1921
5/8
Chief Mantor Correspondence
1920-1921
5/9
Chief Mantor Correspondence - Fireman's Drill School Course
1921
5/10
Chief Mantor Correspondence
1921
5/11
Chief Mantor Correspondence - May - August
1921
5/12
Chief Mantor Correspondence - September - December
1921
5/13
Chief Mantor Correspondence - September - December
1921
5/14
Chief Mantor Correspondence - Fire at 12th and Lucile
1921
5/15
Chief Mantor Correspondence
1921
6/1
Chief Mantor Correspondence - April - May
1922
6/2
Chief Mantor Correspondence - May - August
1922
6/3
Chief Mantor Correspondence - July - September
1922
6/4
Chief Mantor Correspondence - September - December
1922
6/5
Chief Mantor Correspondence - Fire Salvage and Patol Corps Proposal
1922
6/6
Chief Mantor Correspondence
1922-1923
6/7
Chief Mantor Correspondence
1922-1924
6/8
Chief Mantor Correspondence June - August
1923
6/9
Chief Mantor Correspondence - Requests for Information - August - October
1923
6/10
Chief Mantor Correspondence - Requests for Information - January - June
1923
7/1
Chief Mantor Correspondence - November - December
1923
7/2
Chief Mantor Correspondence - January - March
1924
7/3
Chief Mantor Correspondence - March - July
1924
7/4
Chief Mantor Correspondence - July - December
1924
7/5
Chief Mantor Correspondence - January - August
1925
8/1
Chief Mantor Correspondence
1925-1926
8/2
Chief Mantor Correspondence May - December
1926
8/3
Chief Mantor Correspondence - Fire Station Ravenna - Bryant
1926-1927
8/4
Chief Mantor Correspondence - January - October
1927
8/5
Chief Mantor Correspondence - November - February
1927-1928
9/1
Chief Mantor Correspondence - March - May
1928
9/2
Chief Mantor Correspondence - June - September
1928
9/3
Chief Mantor Correspondence - September - December
1928
9/4
Chief Mantor Correspondence - January - March
1929
9/5
Chief Mantor Correspondence - April - June
1929
9/6
Chief Mantor Correspondence - May - July
1929
9/7
Chief Mantor Correspondence - August - October
1929
9/8
Chief Mantor Correspondence - October - November
1929
9/9
Chief Mantor Correspondence - December
1929
10/1
Chief Mantor Correspondence January - February
1930
10/2
Chief Mantor Correspondence - March
1930
10/3
Chief Mantor Correspondence - April - May
1930
10/4
Chief Mantor Correspondence - June
1930
10/5
Chief Mantor Correspondence - July
1930
10/6
Chief Mantor Correspondence - July
1930
10/7
Chief Mantor Correspondence - August - September
1930
10/8
Chief Mantor Correspondence - September
1930
10/9
Chief Mantor Correspondence - October - November
1930
10/10
Chief Mantor Correspondence
1930-1931
10/11
Chief Mantor Correspondence
1930-1931
10/12
Chief Mantor Correspondence
1930-1931
10/13
Chief Laing Correspondence
1931
10/14
Chief Laing Correspondence
1931
10/15
Chief Laing Correspondence
1931
11/1
Chief Laing Correspondence
1931
11/2
Chief Laing Correspondence
1931
11/3
Chief Laing Correspondence
1931
11/4
Chief Laing Correspondence
1931
11/5
Chief Laing Correspondence
1931-1932
11/6
Chief Laing Correspondence
1932
11/7
Chief Laing Correspondence
1932
11/8
Chief Laing Correspondence
1932
11/9
Chief Laing Correspondence
1932
11/10
Chief Laing Correspondence
1931-1932
11/11
Chief Laing Correspondence
1931-1932
11/12
Chief Corning Correspondence
1931-1936
12/1
Chief Corning Correspondence
1932
12/2
Chief Corning Correspondence
1932
12/3
Chief Corning Correspondence
1932-1933
12/4
Chief Corning Correspondence
1933
12/5
Chief Corning Correspondence
1933-1934
12/6
Chief Corning Correspondence
1933
12/7
Chief Corning Correspondence
1933-1934
12/8
Chief Corning Correspondence
1933-1937
12/9
Chief Corning Correspondence
1934
12/10
Chief Corning Correspondence
1934
12/11
Chief Corning Correspondence
1934
12/12
Chief Corning Correspondence
1934-1935
12/13
Chief Corning Correspondence
1935
12/14
Chief Corning Correspondence
1935
12/15
Chief Corning Correspondence
1935
12/16
Chief Corning Correspondence
1935-1936
13/1
Chief Corning - Requests for information January - June
1936
13/2
Chief Corning Correspondence
1936
13/3
Chief Corning Correspondence
1936-1937
13/4
Chief Corning Correspondence
1937
13/5
Chief Corning Correspondence
1937
13/6
Chief Corning Correspondence January - June
1938
13/7
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence June - August
1938
13/8
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence June - October
1938
13/9
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence October - December
1938
13/10
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence
1938-1950
13/11
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence January - February
1939
13/12
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence January - March
1939
14/1
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence September - October
1939
14/2
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence October - December
1939
14/3
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence April - July
1939
14/4
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence July - August
1939
14/5
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence December - April
1939-1940
14/6
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence March - April
1940
14/7
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence April - June
1940
14/8
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence July - August
1940
14/9
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence August - December
1940
14/10
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence November - December
1940
14/11
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence January - February
1941
15/1
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence March - April
1941
15/2
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence April - May
1941
15/3
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence June - August
1941
15/4
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence August - December
1941
15/5
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence October - December
1941
15/6
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence January
1942
15/7
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence March - June
1942
15/8
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence
1941-1942
15/9
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence
1942
15/10
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence
1942-1943
16/1
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence
1943
16/2
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence
1943-1944
16/3
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence
1943-1944
16/4
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence
1944
16/5
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence
1944-1945
17/1
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence May - September
1945
17/2
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence June - December
1945
17/3
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence January - April
1946
17/4
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence March - May
1946
17/5
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence June - September
1946
17/6
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence January - April
1947
17/7
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence January - September
1947
18/1
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence August - December
1947
18/2
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence January - April
1948
18/3
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence March - July
1948
18/4
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence January - March
1949
18/5
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence May - June
1949
18/6
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence June - September
1949
18/7
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence October - November
1949
19/1
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence November - January
1949-1950
19/2
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence May - August
1950
19/3
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence August - February
1950-1951
19/4
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence
1950-1951
19/5
Chief Fitzgerald Correspondence
1951

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Fire extinction--Equipment and supplies--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Fire fighters--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Personal Names :
  • Bringhurst, Harry W.
  • Clark, William H.
  • Cook, Ralph
  • Corning, Claude W.
  • Fitzgerald, William
  • Kellogg, Gardner
  • Laing, Robert L.
  • Mantor, George M.
  • Stetson, Frank L.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.). Fire Dept.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.)