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Dayton in Liberty County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Dayton's Volunteer Fire Department

 
 
Dayton's Volunteer Fire Department Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, September 25, 2022
1. Dayton's Volunteer Fire Department Marker
Inscription.  Dayton suffered two devastating fires in the early decades of the 20th century. The first took place in 1913 on Railroad Avenue (Depot Street today). It burned or damaged many businesses that were constructed of lumber. A second fire in 1929 burned the same block and destroyed many of the same buildings that had rebuilt after the 1913 fire. There was no fire department during those times and the need for one was very apparent. Dayton City Council passed ordinances governing fire zones in 1927 and 1929. Mr. J.V. Lawrence was made Manager of the City Water Works in 1929 and Council voted to purchase a fire truck that year.

By April 3, 1930, Lawrence had been named Fire Chief, presumably due to the fact he was head of the Water Works Dept. At meetings thereafter, Lawrence was referred to as Fire Marshal. He dropped his title of Fire Marshal after Tom Collins was elected Fire Chief by the firefighter volunteers who were often referred to in Council minutes as the "fire boys."

The DVFD held fund raisers to acquire much needed equipment and to help toward the cost of trucks, but needed a structure in which to house them. The
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first fire station was a lean-to building/shed located on Bryan Street. It was equipped with a complete kitchen and small living quarters. Storage for the trucks and equipment changed locations from time to time and the City helped with expenses involved.

A combination City Hall / Fire Station was built in 1937 facing Church Street. The north side of the building facing Cook Street had two bays for fire trucks. This structure served the needs of the City until the 1970s. In 1974, a generous gift from the J.D. Hunnicutt Family helped alleviate the situation. They donated two lots to the DVFD on which to build a new station. Fire Dept. minutes of January 16, 1975 read, "Captain [Bob] Martin made motion that the Chief and Secretary execute a deed of Fire Department lot in Block 4 lots 9 & 10 to the City of Dayton for the construction of a new fire station, motion caried." By February, one of the lots was sold to Bell Telephone Company, generating funds to help equip the new station which was built on the remaining lot at the corner of Winfree and Cook Streets. Minutes of April 10, 1975 read "Chief reported that the new building had been inspected and approved, and that we could move this coming week." An open house for the new facility was held June 1, 1975.

Many selfless individuals have volunteered to serve in this organization over the decades and have carried
Dayton's Volunteer Fire Department Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, September 25, 2022
2. Dayton's Volunteer Fire Department Marker
out their duties with distinction to a grateful community.

Captions
Upper Left: 1936 Fire Station Firefighters are l-r: Frank Dobbs, Jim Sterling, Rusty Wilson, Bennett Jackson, Homer Sims, Bill Merritt, Harold Barclay
Upper Right: 1950s fleet outside the fire station located at the side of the 1937 City Hall. Note the fire siren on the tower beside building.

 
Erected by Dayton Historical Society.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings. A significant historical date for this entry is January 16, 1975.
 
Location. 30° 2.801′ N, 94° 53.247′ W. Marker is in Dayton, Texas, in Liberty County. Marker is at the intersection of Cook Street and North Church Street, on the left when traveling west on Cook Street. The marker is located along the building on Cook Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 111 North Church Street, Dayton TX 77535, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Murder of Louis "Frenchy" Cashat (a few steps from this marker); 1937 Dayton City Hall (a few steps from this marker); Dayton Egg Circle (within shouting distance of this marker); Dayton World War II Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Early History of Dayton's African American Community
The Dayton's Volunteer Fire Department Marker is on the right side of the old Fire Station image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, September 25, 2022
3. The Dayton's Volunteer Fire Department Marker is on the right side of the old Fire Station
(within shouting distance of this marker); Dayton's Early Economy (within shouting distance of this marker); Dayton's Early History (within shouting distance of this marker); Dayton's Namesake (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dayton.
 
Also see . . .  Dayton, TX. Texas State Historical Association
Dayton, on U.S. Highway 90 three miles west of Liberty in southwestern Liberty County, was first called West Liberty and was considered part of the original town of Liberty, founded in 1831. The Trinity River divided the two parts of the town: Liberty was on its east bank, and West Liberty was on a hill three miles west of the river. A new road and a ferry directly connected the two. Both parts of the town were located on the four-league Mexican land grant appropriated for the capital of the old municipality of Santísima Trinidad de la Libertad, which later became known as Liberty.
(Submitted on September 27, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
 
Additional keywords. Fire Station
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 27, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 27, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 114 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 27, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.

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Apr. 19, 2024