PUFFERBELLY & BAR

(Cuisine AMERICAN)

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A Little Bit of History In the early days the Erie Fire Department was made up of volunteers. It first became an organization In 1816 and in 1886 the Active Fire Company was established. The company equipment consisted of hand pumpers, hose and buckets, and every homeowner was required to have a bucket for the protection of his property. Council records form 1813 show the first money expended for fire equipment was $40.00 for fire ladders and hooks. The first "Fire Engine" was purchased for $350.00 in 1815. The second pumper, a Button, hand pulled and hand pumped was purchased from Rufus J. Reed in 1830 and can be seen today at the original Fire House No. 4 located at 428 Chestnut Street, Erie. Fire House No. 4 was built in 1903 and in 1975 became the home of the Firefighters Historical Museum, Inc. There were approximately 7 volunteer Fire Companies in the early days and they competed with each other to receive a bonus for being the first company to arrive at a fire. Unfortunately, an enterprising company, the Noble Hose Company, took advantage of the system and started many fires themselves so they could be the first to arrive on the scene and collect the $4.00 bonus. This prompted council, in 1871, to give the firemen a salary. The first motorized rig in Erie was the "Hayes" which was acquired in 1912. It had a gasoline engine and electric motors on each wheel. By 1920 the entire force was motorized. The last horse was retired in 1922. The firemen were, and are, brave people who fought many tragic fires, endangering their lives. The first Erie Firefighter to die in the line of duty was John J. Donavan. In August, 1915, during the Millcreek flood, Chief McMahon was in the raging water. Donavan pulled the chief to safety but then was swept away near 23rd and French Street. Tragically, just seventeen days later, the chief died from overexposure. Construction on the firehouse that is now the Pufferbelly Restaurant, was begun in 1907. It was built by the Constable Brothers Construction Co. at a cost of $14,889.00 and was completed in 1908. Fire House No. 1 enjoyed a long history of fire protection for its ward as well as a reputation for horseplay and good times which earned it the nickname "Detention Home." Local people may recall the Christmas railroad display the firemen arranged in the second floor dormitory area each year. The department stopped using the station in 1979. The Pufferbelly on French Street, which recalls the nickname given to the steam pumpers and engines of the late eighteen hundreds, hopes you will enjoy the artifacts throughout the restaurant that pay homage to the brave men of the Erie Fire Department. We are grateful to Richard Robb of the Erie Fire Department for his assistance in compiling this brief historical record. We also encourage you to visit the Firefighters Historical Museum, Inc. at Fifth and Chestnut Streets, which proudly presents one of this nation's finest assemblages of firefighting memorabilia. (814) 454-1557 For Reservations & Information Please Note: At this time we can NOT accept Reservations via Email. Thank you! 414French Street 4th & French Streets Erie, Pennsylvania 16507 PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE A NON-SMOKING FACILITY

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