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Millburn: 1857 - 1957
The Second Half-Century

By the Millburn Centennial Committee

Originally appeared in 1957
This Web version, copyright 2004

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  • Millburn Fire Department

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  • As previously noted, the Millburn Police Department was established in 19077, and in April, 1908, a Police Court was founded with William E. Summers, the first justice. During his first year 18 formal charges were made and $83.00 in lines ievieo and collected. The Police Department moved progressively with the times. The first patrolmen were on foot; later two men patrolled on horseback. in 1918 motorcycles came into vogue and lasted until 1927 when automobiles took over. "The first radio equipment was installed in 1935, and the Department continuously increased its personnel and equipment to meet the needs of the community. An ambulance, gift of the Junior Service League, is under the control of the Police Department, and many other functions have been added to those for which it was responsible in its early days:

    In 1907, also, the Millburn Bank received its charter and opened its doors to business in a store on the north side of Millburn Avenue, near the bridge. and it 1909 it moved into its own building on the southeast corner of Main Street and Millburn Avenue, from which it moved only recently into its present modern building a. Millburn Avenue and Essex Street. The bank building also housed CamrOell's drug store, the Millburn Post Office, and the new and enlarged telephone switchboard with four operators.

    The first Civic Association, the Wyoming Civic Association, was founded 1909.

    In 1912 the Millburn, Short Hills, and Wyoming Fire Companies were all organized under the Township Committee as one unit, and became the Miliburn Fire Department. Thomas A. Douglas was Chief at that time. The Millburn division had secured a horsedrawn hook and ladder in 1910. Actually before this time, the Township owned no horses to pull its equipment. The practice was, on the sounding a alarm, for volunteers to drive their own teams from all sections of the community. The first to arrive at the place where the firefighting apparatus was stored got the job and received a small remuneration for the use of his horses.

    In 1912 the first motorized apparatus, a chemical and hose truck, was purchased. A hook and ladder motor truck was added to the Department in 1917; a combination chemical and hose truck was secured in 1919, followed in later years by three, 1,000 gallon pumping engines. As with the Police Department, progress was continually made in securing the best of hfe and property saving equipment, and its members, at first all volunteers, now regulars and volunteers, receive training in rescue work, resuscitation, and first aid, in addition to their regular duties. Inspection of all public gathering places and a constant check for fire hazard spots and their removal, are part of the everyday routine of the Department. The recently completed fire houses on Essex Street and White Oak Ridge Road have added to the efficiency of their service.

    Another step forward was the erection of a town hall. In 1888 individuals as well as groups began agitating for a town hall. Various sites were offered, but the prohibitive cost, $12,000.00 to $15,000.00, caused the project to be dropped. For years the Township Committee's yearly meetings were held in the Music Hall. In 1891 the Township Committee recommended that $2,500.00 be appropriated for the erection of a building for township purposes, including a meeting room, cell for prisoners, and a fireproof vault. The treasurer's report that year showed that $100.00 had been spent for taking prisoners to jail, but again nothing was done, and jail sentences continued to be served in Newark. When the new Washingtoa School (1895) was authorized, the old building was moved across the street to be the first town hall. Finally, in 1912, the new town hall and jail contract was let for $21,768.00. Later additions were made in 1935 and 1956.

    In 1912 a curfew ordinance was passed and vigorously enforced until after the first world war, by policemen armed with strong flashlights. Citizens of today who were boys in those days report that few of them had the temerity to defy the nine o'clock signal to get off the streets.

    The first Ford Agency and automobile service station was opened by Julius Wittkop about this time, at 319 Millburn Avenue (now occupied by the Suburban Shop), and the first motor taxicab, a Ford, operated by Pat Skelly, made its appearance on Millburn Streets.


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