Guarding a Century






Guarding a Century
The Story of Fire and the 100 Years of Service of The Frank ford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia



by S. FAYETTE CARTLEDGE with a Foreword by WILLIAM F. COWDEN, Chief Engineer of the Philadelphia Bureau of Fire

Issued on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of Incorporation



President Vice-President Treasurer Asst. Treasurer Secretary and Manager Asst. Secretary



"Those who do not look upon themselves as a link connecting the past with the future do not perform their duty to the world." —Daniel Webster.

By WILLIAM F. COWDEN, Chief Engineer, Bureau of Fire, Department of Public Safety, Philadelphia In the 100 years that The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia has been active, firefighting has advanced from the inadequate bucket brigades and hand-drawn manual engines to highly-trained firemen and powerful pumpers. Through the days of leather hose, trumpeted orders and the spell-binding dash of fire horses the Philadelphia Bureau of Fire has maintained and enhanced a record that is unsurpassed in the nation. The officers and men of the bureau are largely responsible for the low loss of life and property from fire in Philadelphia, but the co-operation of householders, business and industry has been vitally important. Successful firefighting usually depends on a few men and a few machines. Fire prevention in a city the size of Philadelphia always depends on hundreds of thousands of people. Now, more than ever before, fire prevention must be a foremost consideration of all. Care in the home, the place of business and the war plant is not only essential to protecting life and property, but vital to victory.

Guarding a Century

Chapter I HERE WAS a touch of Spring in the air and it seemed an ideal time to b e doing things. Folks on Main Street were t a 1 k i n g about Congress appropriating $30,000 f o r a rattle-brained professor named M o r s e t o build a telegraph line between Baltimore and Washington. Men in heavy beaver hats and women in silk bonnets enjoyed the early Spring sun! shine on Main Street and each passerby c a s t an approving eye at the Lyceum, Frankford's newest and most impressive building. It was the first week in April, 1843. The legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had approved the incorporation of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia and with its act of the 5th had set in motion a company dedicated to protecting its community against the ravages of fire and destined to extend its scope throughout all of Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties. The acceptance as a corporation in the terms of a mutual company was the final act necessary to bring into official being the protective organization to underwrite fire policies and give a growing community one of its greatest necessities. On a warm evening in mid-July, 1842, residents of the Borough of Frankford had met in the school house of John S. Rose, Esq., and in the lamp-lit room where boys intent on going fishing learned the Three R's by day, the plans for The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia were formulated. Before the evening was over Henry Taylor, M. D., was ap-






Guarding a Century pointed chairman and Isaac Shalicross, secretary. On October 20, with progressive steps being made in the meantime, a meeting adopted the official title of the company which has stood intact through the years. Men prominent in the professional, business, political and civic life of the borough were identified with the company from the outset of its career and through the decades that have followed Frankford's best known citizens have directed its affairs, continued its traditions and planned for the future protection of thousands of properties. No one man conceived the idea of the company. No profitminded individual saw wealth or position resulting from his association with the plan. Its tenets and premises are summed up in the words "fire insurance company." It was for the mutual interests of all and the protection of a community that the company was formed. The ravages of fire darken many pages in the history of the world's greatest cities, but misfortune is heaped on tragedy when no insurance covers the victim of fire and this was the condition The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company sought to prevent. Since man first discovered fire and made it serve him he has feared it. In the most primitive times tongues of flame drove him from his cave as great forests were consumed and animals he might have stalked on another day fled by his side unnoticed. Villages were built. Fire was still the problem. London was almost destroyed in the tenth century by fires set by invading Danes. The English capital's conflagration of 1666 is one of the worst the Muse of History has set down. No insurance facilities protected the people of London at the time of the Great Fire. Its story was one of tragedy and loss carried to the New World by men and women who survived it and brought to the early settlement of Frankford by persons whose ancestors learned the fear of fire through the destruction wrought by the holocaust. In Colonial times, Frankford had taken precautions against fire. In the days when Washington was a visitor to the borough every volunteer fireman was required to have a "leather bucket with a strong handle ready to use," history tells us. The town to which Lydia Darrah came with her grain to be ground and brought warning of a plot she had overheard when

The Legislature Approves British officers talked too loud in her home had grown from a rambling colonial village. When The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia was formed men were walking Main Street who, as boys, had seen George Washington ride through. They had witnessed the delegates to Continental Congress pass this way. By 1842 hand pumping engines were capable of throwing a good supply of water, but the tireless bucket brigade was still an important auxiliary to the mechanized equipment. On November 9, 1842, The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia met to elect directors. Men were present whose descendents are prominent in local affairs today. Men whose names are on our street signs and representatives of families who helped make Frankford the great community of civic-mindedness that it has always been comprised this early directorship. Elected on that memorable evening were: Isaac Whitelock, Henry Taylor, William Kinsey, William Overington, Era Shalicross, Samuel Pilling, John F. Lamb, George F. Womrath, Peter Castor, Levi P. Coats, William Borger, William Hilles and Isaac Shailcross. For president the group chose Isaac Whitelock, with Mr. Shallcross continuing as secretary and William Overington assuming the duties of treasurer. Lewis Emery was the first to express his full confidence in the organization when he became its client and was issued Policy Number 1 on November 15, 1842. Initiative and a willingness to take risks helped get the company started. Fire meant loss in the early days for premiums were not large and skepticism had not passed entirely from the picture despite the prominence of the officers and their good name in the community. But the company was off to a steady beginning and its solid foundation was already serving as a basis on which the future was to be built. Business men and householders found added safety and security in a policy issued by The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia. It was a mark of good judgment to have coverage by this company on a property. The men who formed the enterprise were appreciated more for this work than for almost any business or profes7

Guarding a Century sional aid they could render. It became a distinction to be identified with the new protective company. Frankford looked with pride on its fire insurance company. Few boroughs could boast such evidence of security. Somehow, the sting of fire was alleviated. The terror of the cry of fire was probably as great as ever, but the comforting thought, "I am insured," helped a great deal. Men in heavy beaver hats and women in silk bonnets enjoyed the early Spring sunshine on Main Street. Truly, it was a time to be doing things. And in the office of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company things were being done. The legislature had granted incorporation and men who had given their time, effort and money to providing the community with security against the 'hard master," were going to see results. It was April 5, 1843, and the officers, directors and members of the company had reached a milestone in their careers. They were laying the foundation for a company that was to be dedicated to guarding a century.


Chapter II CTIVITY dominated the offices and meeting rooms of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company during the days following its incorporation. Its meetings were orderly, dignified and exacting. The thoroughness of a thorough era was much in evidence as the secretary read the minutes of the previous meeting and the directors listened intently. Many suggestions were made in those early assemblages. The guiding hands of the company were interested in protecting to the fullest extent the policyholders and various ideas were introduced and accepted or rejected depending on the way they held


A Borough Passes up under consideration by those present. The chilling call, "Fire," meant more to the officers and directors of the company now, for every blaze was a potential outlay of money for the young company. There was a fire, of course, and the first policyholder to present his claim found a ready willingness to pay among the men who formed the insurance company. There was $75 to be met and when the fire victim received the money it represented cash from the pockets of officers and directors, but it helped established The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company on a firmer basis and proved conclusively that a need of the community was being met by men who were prepared to back the protection of the borough to the limit. The company was a part of the pre-Civil War progress of Frankford. Its officials were active in all phases of community life and helped instill in the people a civic-mindedness that is apparent to this day. Transportation was a major problem in this era, but Saturday, November 29, 1845, found an innovation in the town that was destined to bring it closer to the rambling City of Philadelphia. W. H. Shalicross and Company began its first run of a stagecoach on that memorable Saturday at 5.30 in the evening with a happy throng present to witness the departure. A beautiful new coach with unprecedented comforts and pulled by well-groomed horses left S. C. Paul's, 208 Main Street, a few minutes late for its inaugural trip to the big city. Frankfordians recognized a new and important link had been forged in community development. Southern terminus of the Accommodation Line, as it was popularly known, was the Sign of the Camel, a famous inn on Second Street between Race and Vine. Coaches left there in time to permit travelers to return to Frankford by midnight. "Coaches and horses are good," an advertisement of W. H. Shallcross and Company read, "and no pains will be spared to make this the 'Accommodation Line'." Constable William McCormick spent most of his time catching unmuzzled dogs on Main Street and Amos Thorp had to keep his blinds drawn to prevent almost every passerby from staring at the unbelievable miracle of gaslight in his home in the year The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company was celebrating its tenth anniversary. Several fires had damaged buildings in the town and its en9

Guarding a Century phia. From 1846, when the company became known as the Washington Fire Company of Frankford, until 1871 when the paid department was inaugurated, its membership lists included some of the first citizens of the community. Its work well done, it lives in history as a monument to a people who were conscious of the dangers and ravages of fire in unprotected areas before fire prevention was given serious thought. The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company had been incorporated three years and Frankford's fire companies were established, well-trained units, when the dyeing and finishing plant of John Briggs and Company, known as Tackawanna Print and Dye Works, burned to the ground. Located at Orchard and Tacony Streets, the plant was one of the prides of Frankford's industrial life. This fire of 1846 brought home to many the need for greater protection and prevention methods. The Briggs organization soon rebuilt the plant along more extensive lines at a cost of $1,000,000. July 12, 1866, the year The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company took over the Lyceum Building as owner, the plant again burned to the ground. It was the most spectacular fire the community had witnessed and the scope of the damage and possible threat to nearby homes and industrial plants caused a general stir in local and official circles. Industrial Frankford and the rest of Philadelphia were growing too rapidly to rely on volunteer companies and five years later the first paid firemen took over the work of the willing, but inadequate, volunteers. As Frankford had progressed so had most of the nation. We had won a war with Mexico and the Union was larger and stronger than ever. New York and Philadelphia were rivals for national supremacy with a place on a lake in the mid-west gaining too much ground and population for the liking of either eastern city. People called it Chicago and told the more effete Easterners that its stockyards smelled to the high heavens. What could be more appropriate than a World's Fair at New York to show the whole planet that America was out of its swaddling clothes? Philadelphia looked on in envy. A beautiful Crystal Palace was built so ornate, so elaborate that persons outside of New York who saw drawings of it in Harper's and other illustrated magazines of the period believed

A Borough Passes the Empire City was hoodwinking them. No such place could be possible, they agreed. Realization of its cost and importance jarred into the minds of all on the night of October 5, 1858, when the structure, then five years old, was destroyed by fire. The huge building, symbolic of America's progress and inter-city jealousy, was a molten mass of red-hot ruins. New York's fire-fighting was almost helpless against the blaze. It brought home to a nation the dangers of fire as the death of a President might awaken a people to the full realization of the word. Philadelphia sobered under the impact of the electrifying news. Officials talked loud and long about the need for greater fire protection. The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia continued issuing policies at a gratifying rate. It marked its fifteenth anniversary of incorporation in stride. There was work to be done—a community and large surrounding area to be protected. More space was needed as files and other office equipment were added to take care of the increasing business. Covetous eyes must have been cast by some officials of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company on ownership of the beautiful and still new Lyceum Building. What an ideal place for a progressive, young insurance enterprise to possess! Clouds of unrest hung over the national horizon and penetrated the business, industrial and political life of Frankford. There was talk of war. A young mid-western lawyer named Lincoln became president. Tired and disinterested James Buchanan, Pennsylvania's only gift to the White House, retired to his Lancaster County farm. States were seceding from the Union. A period of uncertainty was developing. Business was at an unsteady pace. The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company braced itself prepared to guard community interests at all costs. "Where's Fort Sumter?" someone asked. "Did you know its been fired on by the rebels? News just came over the telegraph." There was a chant in the air that went, "We're coming, Father Abraham, 100,000 strong . . ." It was April 15, 1861.



Chapter III T WAS going to be easy. We would show those Confederates h o w t h e efficient North, champion of the Union and human freedom, could forestall their secession and bring peace once more. It would take two months or maybe three; six months of war was something no one would prophesy. Business tightened. Manufacturing firms were called upon for increased production. A sad-faced man in the White House took up the task of a war he had tried to avert. One month . . . three months . . . six months . . . one year two years . . . the war dragged on. Familiar faces were taken from Frankford. There was a sobriety and sterness of purpose unknown in the bustling, growing community of a few years before. The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company marked its twentieth anniversary in a land torn by war and in a community where hope never faded, but local business and home life were affected by the conflict. The progress made by fire prevention in the years since the founding of the company stood still, slid backward. Hustle and hurry. Do your part for the war. Throw precaution to the winds Didn't Lee get as far as Wrightsville, Lancaster County? Hadn't he been thrown back from Gettysburg in a close battle. He would try again. Save the community from the plunderers in gray! Hurry, rush, work as hard as you can. Fire protection? No time for that. But despite its drawbacks induced by the toll of war Frankford made progress. Butter cost a little gold dollar a pound and clothing rose to unprecedented high price levels. Men learned how to make things better and quicker. Unwittingly, they were preparing for a peace era when life would be more enjoyable and out of the ruins of war would rise a more



The Torch of War efficient and more liveable world. Chambersburg had been burned to the ground by Confederate cavalrymen under General Early. The torch was applied to Mississippi towns by Union soldiers. Each day's dispatches brought a new realization and a new horror of war. Homes were destroyed by fire as well as by shot and shell. Thoughts turned to the unpleasant possibility that the entire city might be razed if invading armies of the South could get to it. The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance faced a most dangerous era. It had dedicated itself to protecting the community when it was a remote borough of Philadelphia. It had sponsored fire prevention methods and issued policies in other days of uncertainty. Twenty years of service would not be thrown to the winds invasion or no invasion! When any indication of weakness or instability on the part of the company might have meant an end to years of conscientious effort it proved strongest. When the dark days of defeat and the long, weary years of war dragged on endlessly the company continued to give its best. There was no wavering, no turning back. The executives of the concern in that period which today seems so distant built a new tier on the foundation and made the name of Frankford Mutual more widely appreciated than ever before. Contacts with Montgomery and Bucks Counties were not easily made due to lack of transportation facilities and the fact that everyone was busy with some type of war work, but every prospective policyholder was given full consideration by the company. If he had a problem he was aided in its solution and when he asked for advice on fire prevention methods for his home or place of business he was informed. Progress, greater stability, an even wider influence on the home and business development of three counties marked the Civil War years for The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia. Now the files of the company were filled and the equipment in its office overflowed with the extensive papers of the fire insurance business. Larger quarters were needed. When people returned to normal living they were going to take out more policies. The town was destined to grow. Industries of war would turn to peace and more homes would be erected to take care of the influx of workers.

Guarding a Century Immigration was destined to be stepped up to new heights once the War Between the States was brought to a close and the Union established again for all time. With customary foresight and initiative the directors of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of that era recognized the protective organization would be called upon for greater service than ever before. The company's resources were more than ample. Its executives held to the often-difficult course of conservatism. Confidence, unshakable and self-evident, had been instilled in the people of Frankford and in Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery County policyholders. A new era was about to dawn and The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company determined to become a part of it. It was 1865. A war-weary South had missed its great chance at Gettysburg. This now became apparent. Sherman had marched to the sea from Atlanta and, in the West, Union Armies had all but completed the cleavage of the Confederate States of America. A final surge of effort on the home front was giving our armies new equipment, the best facilities and greater encouragement. The war was nearing the goal of a victory for re-consolidation of the Union. On April 9 a tired and graying Robert E. Lee offered his sword to unkempt, cigar-smoking Ulysses S. Grant. It was refused and the South was allowed to retain its pride. Out of the tumult of war was re-born America. Out of the war plant came materials of peace. Out of the period of destruction came building. From Europe hopeful thousands who had watched the conflict from afar migrated to make their homes in America, in Philadelphia, in Frankford. Business gained its former equilibrium. The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company kept pace. After the rash, rough daring of war people settled down to the niceties of life. Clothes became more elegant. Streets were paved with blocks of stone. Steamboats and sailing ships filled the Delaware again. Commerce was carried on in peace. Philadelphia became a manufacturing center of world renown, with the Frankford area engaged in producing fabrics of all kinds, iron, and a variety of cloth and steel products. Expansion was afoot and the insurance company was prepared to do something about it. On March 21, 1866, The Frankford Lyceum of Science for the Acquirement and Diffusion of Useful Knowledge was granted the right by the state legislature to dispose of its estate and settle

The Torch of War its affairs. For 30 years the society had served a cultural position in the life of the community. The names of its members were in high standing in professional and business endeavor. Its building was a pride of the community and marked a new era of development when it was erected in 1842. The officers and directors of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company saw more things wrong with their space limitations in the building now than ever before. All the prompting that was required was for someone to say, as had been said before, that the Lyceum would make a fine home for the company to be occupying as owner when the Silver Anniversary of its incorporation rolled around. The motion was made and quickly approved. On June 23 The Frankford Mutual Insurance Company purchased the building it had occupied as a tenant since its earliest days.

THE LYCEUM Chapter IV HE INVENTIVE 1830's were unlike the corresponding decade of a century later. Steamboats were becoming a part of the young nation's commerce. The locomotive was a frail and wheezing infant, but men realized it was I here to stay. The first railway in America was opened between Albany and Schenectady in 1832. More work was being done by machinery than in previous decades. Men looked to science for guidance and a general trend toward increased knowledge for the average person was apparent. Like the 1930's this decade saw a major depression—called a panic by most people—but this did not cause any noticeable interruption in the quest for knowledge. In 1836 some prominent Frankford citizens organized the impressively-titled and austere society known as The Frankford Lyceum of Science for the Acquirement and Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. 17

Guarding a Century In prestige and activity the society grew. Frankford was a center of "acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge." The organization built an imposing structure in 1842 and the community looked upon it as a Mecca for science-minded men. This was the building purchased by Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company June 23, 1866. Located at 4510-14 Frankford Avenue, it was made more impressive in later years when the stone front was added. To the populace it was "the Lyceum" in the pre-Civil War era and it filled a place in the life of the old manufacturing town on the creeks that fed the Delaware. Constitution and by-laws of The Frankford Lyceum of Science for the Acquirement and Diffusion of Useful Knowledge were published in pamphlet form in 1843. The constitution was written by Dr. Robert Burns. President of the group was Enoch Roberts, with William Overington and John Deal as vice presidents. Recording secretary was Nathan Hilles and corresponding secretary was Dr. Robert Burns. John F. Lamb served as treasurer. Under a strict program of direction the society formed a Board of Managers and the dignity and staid aspect of the organization whose members sought knowledge in an awakened era was vested largely in this group. Isaac Shalicross, John Briggs, Harvey Quicksall, Walter Knight, Robert Huckel, Samuel Pilling, and John D. Harper comprised the board. "The objects of the corporation," said Article I of the Constitution, "shall be the promotion of knowledge by the cultivation of Literature, the Sciences, and History." There was ample room for other organizations to hold meetings and affairs in the Lyceum Building and it became a mark of distinction for a group to use the rooms and facilities of the structure. Oxford Temperance Society, founded before 1830, was an organization promoting the program of abolishment of alcoholic drinks almost 90 years before laws dried up the liquor business in America. It was fitting and proper that the society should make its headquarters at the Lyceum. Another to avail itself of the imposing building was the Union Adult Society which was founded in August, 1818. It was devoted to the "instruction of moral and religious persons of all

The Lyceum denominations, free of expense to them." Women were admitted to membership. Unique in many respects is the Frankford Beneficial Society which made its headquarters at the present home of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Among its members are found the names of Shallcross, Castor, Duffield, Dyre, Wright, Woodington, Foulkrod and others outstanding in Frankford's early history. Lyceum Building and lot had cost $5663—an imposing sum in pre-Mexican War days. Men of influence and means had become conscious of the need for scientific discussions and from the outset the organization prospered. In the decade following the opening of its building the Lyceum society attained the heights of public recognition. But in 1852 it became apparent that financial difficulties were confronting it. There was a peculiar and indescribable retarding force in the nation and the era of scientific progress was giving way to a period of plans to prevent war. Men were giving their attention to find a way out of the complex dispute of slavery. The Frankford Lyceum of Science for the Acquirement and Diffusion of Useful Knowledge passed its zenith a few years before the outbreak of the War Between the States. Since it was a stock corporation there were demands for its liquidation and in the dark days of January, 1863, the busy Pennsylvania Legislature found time to pass an act for relief of the stockholders. Men wanted action in everything in this unprecedented era of frustration. It was demanded that dissolution proceedings be instituted and complete liquidation of the society take place. Thus, The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia acquired, a year after the close of the Civil War, the proud building which housed men of scientific trend in a happier era. In its new home the company marked early progress. Conflict and thoughts of war were behind the nation and the community of Frankford turned its industrial plants once more to producing the goods of peace. Hardened by the war but more than willing to take their place in the spreading community, the sons of Frankford returned home and many were the parades and rejoicings in the name of victory. The company passed its twenty-fifth anniversary in a better

Guarding a Century state of affairs than it had ever been. There was a period of building ahead and people took new pride in their homes and business places. It was a day of full appreciation of what they had fought for and won. It was a time for stabilizing and consolidating that the future would bring then-' only the best. In this progressive era which saw economic instability at times, Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company added to its lists of satisfied policyholders and planned constantly to widen its scope of service and increase its round of endeavor. Montgomery and Bucks Counties were not so far away as in the days before 1861. Philadelphia was nearer to Frankford than ever before, thanks to improved transportation. The company that had safeguarded the community for so long was prepared, in its new home, to outdo its past services. At the turn of the decade of the 70's Frankford joined the nation in looking forward to the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the nation's birth. When it was announced that Philadelphia would be the official Centennial City, Frankfordians recognized the full meaning of the importance of their community which was such an integral part of the metropolitan aspect. A new dignity was present in the late 70's. Gone were the unkempt, wrinkled, purposely-careless attire of the sixties. An elegance that Americans had never known before permeated their dress and homes, their conversation and social life. Frankford, too, was a community of parts and important people. Its social aspect developed appreciably and Main Street became a thoroughfare. Industry speeded its output. Apace of it all was the Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company. As the sixties presented the danger of fire from the torch of war the Elegant Eighties brought with them the heavy drapes and ornate parlors which meant new fire hazards. There was a quiet dignity about the age and people improved and enhanced their homes in keeping with the tendency to show off America to the world as a nation of city dwellers in contrast to the backwoodsmen Europe pictured. Frankfordians felt a new security in their fire insurance company and in its willingness to protect them from loss.



Chapter V

4"_ X

N 1880 fire loss in the United States totaled previous decades. Americans began to take fire prevention and equipment more seriously. A cow had been an important factor in the new trend. The bovine of Mrs. O'Leary had kicked over a kerosene lamp at 137 DeKoven Street starting a fire in the frame city easterners referred to as "that overgrown cow town, Chicago." But the lakeside metropolis had good firefighting for that day. Its engines were horsedrawn and late model pumping equipment was in use, but the fire destroyed most of the city between October 8 and 11, as Federal troops dynamited many buildings and brought the nation face to face with a new recognition of the need for fire protection. Frankfordians looked at their firefighting equipment and hoped for the best. Heavy interior decorations were the greatest fire hazard in homes during the 80's. From the minutes of a meeting of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company in early January, 1882, we find the following loss typical of many of that era: "The secretary reported that notice was given that a fire occurred in a frame dwelling house at 448 Belgrade Street, Kensington, belonging to the Estate of George De Haven and . said fire was caused by a Christmas tree taking fire in the front room, first floor, damaging painting, decorations, glazing and paperhanging." It is noted, too, that $30 was paid the owner who, apparently, had left his Christmas tree and decorations up too long! In the earlier years of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company there was a tendency on the part of property owners to lean toward the feeling of security of their policies rather than direct their attention toward fire prevention. When the community developed and industry and residence were side-by-side without anyone ever hearing the word "zoning" it became apparent that the householder would have to take pre-


Guarding a Century cautions to prevent fire and that the industrialist would be obliged to keep fire hazards from cropping up in his plant. Philadelphia's Bureau of Fire showed marked improvement. A paid organization, its members included many men who had served with the hand-pulled engine companies of volunteer days. In fact, Engine Companies 7 and 14, of Frankford were direct outgrowths of the volunteer organization as was the Bridesburg company, now Number 33, and others in this area. Firemen's uniforms of the 1880's were ornate but not gaudy. The flannel shirt, in vogue in the pre-Civil War days, persisted and many of the old-time fire officials still liked to bark their orders through a trumpet. Flannel shirts are in use today in fire bureaus everywhere while the crossed trumpets, symbolic of an age when good voice belonged to the best officers, adorn the lapels of most uniforms. Derby hats of straw were in use by Philadelphia's fire companies for dress and each house had a champion moustache wearer. Hours were long and the pay insufficient for the type of duty required of the men, but it was in this era that the city built the foundation for a department the service record of which is without peer in the nation. Frankford and the rest of metropolitan America soon tired of the false elegance of the 1880's. The nation was still in the rough and its people decided to roll up their sleeves and go to work in an effort to win world recognition as a power to be considered among the nations of this planet. The 1890's have been called many things from raucous to bawdy, but they saw a job being done. To industrial Frankford and its environs the nation looked for much of its production. Woolens, iron, steel, and a legion of raw and finished products came from the mills of the area. It was an era of industrial development and progress and a dangerous, hazardous period for The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company. In 1892 the company celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. It had passed through the Mexican and Civil war eras and would soon enter its third period of conflict. It had seen a succession of able men in its official positions and through a policy of conservatism was able to look back on a half-century of faithful service for an appreciative people.

Elegance and Prevention In its uncertain first years it was accepted by the three counties it served as an important element in protecting homes and business houses—if it had the wherewithall to overcome adversity. In the Civil War it proved its mettle and in marking its golden anniversary in the midst of the 1890's it stood on the rock of Public Confidence and prepared to give its best to the communities and policyholders come what may. That fire was a retarding and expensive influence of immense proportions in the last decade of the past century is seen in the fact that the annual national loss had jumped to $160,000,000 when the Twentieth century dawned. In 1890 it was $108,993,762; in 1895 it added 34 millions to its mounting total. The sentiment of fire insurance companies was summed up in the words of William W. Foulkrod at a stated meeting of the company March 17, 1902. In the year the organization marked its sixtieth anniversary he said: "I call attention of the Board to insurance rates in the 'fire belt" which is being considered by the Board of Fire Underwriters and that this company should be very cautious in taking risks and fair rates charged for all classes of insurance." The dangerous central "fire belt" was one of the first spots selected by city officials after the turn of the century to concentrate fire prevention education—a work, by the way, that is still going on. A problem of less serious nature was presented by Mr. Foulkrod the same evening as his talk on the hazards of certain city areas. He related that two ladies, representing a well-known Frankford matron who lived next door to the home of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company, had called on him and complained about damage done to her dwelling by the breaking of the company's flagpole. "Evidently," said Mr. Foulkrod, "we are supposed to make repairs all over the house." The house was inspected and the builder reported to the company that "the pole in falling had not hit the roof and he did not see how the paper on the interior rooms could have been damaged." There is no further reference to the discussion, so it is to be assumed that it was settled amicably.

Guarding a Century In 1904 fire losses in the United States reached the appalling proportions of $229,198,050. Of this amount the great fire at Baltimore contributed an appreciable sum. Engine companies were sent from Philadelphia to the stricken Maryland metropolis on February 7 to help fight the conflagration which razed 2,500 buildings. There was more talk of extending fire prevention and The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company was heartily in favor of the program. Improved equipment was one answer. People in Frankford were laughing at the pioneer motorists who were jostled through the streets attired in goggles and dusters perched on a carriage that did not require a horse. Could this inventor's nightmare be practical? Would it ever advance out of the crude "horseless carriage" stage? Few realized, as the sputtering contraption's driver paid no heed to jibes, that in a few years fire fighting would be facilitated by the descendent of the roaring motor under that brassy hood.

CITY HALL IN 15 MINUTES! Chapter VI RANKFORD had seen some important fires in its day when the lid blew off a seething Europe in August, 1914, and put in motion the international machinery of intrigue and violence destined to engulf this nation. Our industrial plants turned to produc) ing the sinews of war. In a few months the Frankford Arsenal, an historic monument to a nation's desire to be free from tyranny, was adding to its personnel in preparation for the inevitable. One of the greatest fires the area has witnessed and a potential danger of immense proportions to property throughout the entire neighborhood occurred at the Arsenal in the late Summer of 1918. Industrial plants of the Northeast and other sections of Phila24


City Hall in Fifteen Minutes! deiphia were ravaged by fire. Authorities were reluctant to join in the cry of "Sabotage." Carelessness played an important part in most; haste to produce for our armed forces accounted for others. The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company was in the midst of its third war period. There were parallels with other eras of conflict, but the stability of the company and its acceptance as a stalwart of protection had never been greater. Industrial Philadelphia had grown to manhood from the recent eras of babyhood and gangling youth and a man-sized job was being done. Homes and factories were next door to each other. The potential danger of fire in mills working every hour of the day and night was at an unprecedented high level and when an industrial plant was consumed by flames homes frequently went up with it. Philadelphia had a Bureau of Fire that was just beginning to learn the meaning of mechanization. Old-timers in the bureau saw no reason to replace the colorful, intelligent, dashing fire horses with motor-driven apparatus. Hadn't the horses always done a good job? Progress! Bah! Wasting the people's money. But progress must be served and 100 horses under the hood began taking the place of three in front of the pumper. Fire losses in the United States reached the staggering sum of $353,878,876 in the last year of the First World War. Of this total Philadelphia had a goodly share. Few persons realized the value of industrial and home properties in the area covered by The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company until they saw the damage total in the newspapers. The Briggs' million-dollar conflagration was a memorable loss, but hundreds of millions of dollars were involved now—and Northeast Philadelphia was getting a proportion too great for local liking. Despite the war, however, the losses in fire during the years of 1917 and 1918 totaled little more than the single year of 1906 when the disaster San Francisco still insists was a fire and the world prefers to call an earthquake added to the FIRE total. Fire prevention was being taken more seriously now and most industrial plants had trained and equipped firefighting forces of their own. During these years The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company was called upon to provide protective policies that would

Guarding a Century have sent a shudder through the founders. In its desire to guard an area as it had guarded generations of home owners in a tncounty region it went to the outermost boundaries of good business judgment. As always, its management represented men who worked in many capacities for the good of Frankford and their principle of operation was to extend to as many as possible a full protective service backed by experience and the solid basis of past achievement. An important year was in the offing for the company as the war came to a close. In 1922 the eightieth anniversary of its founding would be celebrated. Coincidentally, the eyes of the nation would turn toward Frankford in 1922. An engineering feat of which any community might well be proud was the Frankford Elevated Line of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. Obstacles, delays and unforeseen difficulties had not permitted the progress to be as rapid as engineers had hoped. Officials of Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company had looked from the front window of the building which once house The Frankford Lyceum of Science for the Acquirement and Diffusion of Knowledge and saw a sight undreamed of by the thinking men of the community who organized the society. Up Frankford Avenue—which old residents still called "Main Street"—crept a spidery steel framework. Girders were riveted into place to the staccato of pneumatic tools above a thoroughfare which had resounded to the hoofbeats of George Washington's horse. Up Frankford Avenue came progress in the form of achievement of engineers who were heirs to the knowledge sought after, discovered and brought to light by such men as Roberts, Overington, Deal, Burns, Shallcross and others who were officials of the ancient scientific society which erected Lyceum Building. In July, 1842, some prominent citizens of Frankford had met to form a fire insurance company. The community was growing and needed protection. In their fondest dreams of the town they loved could they have foreseen such development as man traveling overhead in speeding steel cars? Hon. J. Hampton Moore waved to the crowd below from the first car to pass over the 'L' in 1922 and by the time The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia celebrated the eightieth anniversary of its incorporation in

City Hall in Fifteen Minutes!

1923 people no longer looked up in awe at the transportation
system which sped them to City Hall in 15 minutes. And W. H. Shallcross and Company had promised, in 1846, all who rode in its stagecoaches from Philadelphia to Frankford would arrive home by midnight! Frankford Avenue would have been a revelation in 1923 to anyone who had left the town 20 years before and returned to ee what the community looked like. It had taken on a business dress unknown in previous days. The elevated system had helped give it a metropolitan aspect no other suburban district owned and stores that would have fit perfectly into the central city shopping area were a proud possession. Gone were most of the old homesteads of Frankford Avenue. Gone, too, were the inns that had been the stopping place of some of the greatest men in American history. The modern note had struck resoundingly and had not fallen on deaf ears in the offices of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company. This .progress and development and building meant one thing—more protection. As business houses grew and expanded and more were added the hazards increased, but the company held to the middle course of conservatism as it had always done and gave its best to the "city within a city." It was a day of fat pay envelopes and good living. People once again turned to home improvement and new methods and ideas of merchandising. After a brief economic let-down in 1921 the world had taken new heart. After all, the tyrants were so utterly defeated they would never rise to again disturb a peaceful world. America had fought to make the earth safe for democracy. A joyous America sobered under the electrifying news of September 1. One of our allies of the Great War had suffered a terrible tragedy. Our friend and confidant of the Pacific needed help. An earthquake, followed quickly by all-consuming flames, struck Tokio on that fateful day and swept through the nearby port city of Yokohama. Fire had taken some terrible tolls in the United States, but never had we known such utter destruction as this. The loss in dollars staggered the imagination while more than 99,000 Japanese were killed. Inadequate firefighting apparatus, authorities pointed out, was

Guarding a Century responsible to an appreciable degree for the spread of flames. Frankford, like the rest of America, poured out its sympathy in money, food and clothing to the Japanese people. Meanwhile, a new appreciation of the hazards of fire caused many to consider the adequacy of our equipment and home fire prevention program. Shiploads of supplies were rushed to Japan. Its officials were profusely thankful. How could they exist without their great friend and neighbor across the Pacific they asked with customary politeness? They hoped their terrible tragedy had taught us a lesson. Fire prevention would be a first thought of Japan in the future. In 1942, hard-pressed American soldiers on Bataan Peninsula captured some Japanese war material. One case was stenciled, "American Japanese Quake Relief Mission-1923." A few months later a man named Doolittle again taught the Japanese something about the hazards of fire.

BAROMETER OF PROSPERITY Chapter VII ]11IRE LOSSES became greater with prosperity. People live more elaborately when money is plentiful and are less likely to take precautions to guard their worldly goods. The lush days of the mid-Twenties are a case in point. Chicago was printed in red wherever possible and youngsters no longer played cowboys and Indians in the street. They found they could make noises like chattering machine guns and the game of gangsters replaced the game of tag. It was an era of building. Industrialists added to their plants. New developments in almost every American industry brought new need for fire protection. In the Greater Northeast area of Philadelphia home building became one of the construction marvels of a marvelous age. The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company was equipped to provide for the unprecedented demand placed upon it and in its 28

Barometer of Prosperity eightieth decade of service contributed greatly to guarding interests of the region against fire loss. Areas in Bucks and Montgomery Counties kept pace with the building boom and communities grew and families lived happily where, but a few short months before, there was only undeveloped land. Fire losses in the United States passed the $500,000,000 mark in 1922. A new high was reached in 1926 when flames and smoke claimed 561 million American dollars. Fire officials and insurance companies scanned the figures with unbelieving eyes. In a decade the aggregate loss had more than doubled. Preventing fire became the subject officials and insurance firms dwelt upon. America was so happy and carefree, so delirious with new-found wealth, so satisfied that the wheels of industry would never be slowed down by war or panic again that the pleas for precaution against the fire hazard fell on deaf ears. National wealth and spending reached a new high about 1927. Things prophetic often appear in undetectable guises. As prosperity and increased fire loss go hand in hand so do financial panic and decreased fire cost seek the same level. There was some indication of industry slackening its pace in 1927 as stock market investments soared and retail business houses grew in size and consequence. The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company had always checked the pulsebeat of business and in providing policies had witnessed the development of Frankford Avenue and its commercial side. Through 85 years it had seen the progress of the street which was the barometer of community strides. The annual fire loss in the nation fell to $472,933,969 in 1927. Outside of insurance companies and the offices of fire authorities no one took particular notice. The press passed by the lowest loss in almost a decade. News in 1927 was too real to allow an editor to note that less damage was being done by fire. Month by month the loss was noticeably behind that of previous years. Industry was not as active. Something was coming over the nation. A storm was gathering that was destined to engulf, stifle and all but strangle American business, lengthen bread lines with people now in their halcyon days and cause the longest and most terrible era of economic distress in our history. Few saw these signs of the times. A young, former mail plane flier named Lindbergh swept his

Guarding a Century Ryan monoplane from New York to Paris May 20-21. Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray perpetrated a murder that was destined to bring a New York tabloid its greatest circulation as a picture of the murdress, taken when she was seated in the electric chair, appeared on page one. U. S. Marines landed in Nicaragua, Stalin instituted the five-year plan, The Graf Zeppelin anchored at Lakehurst in October and President Hoover and an impressive entourage toured Latin America in December. Fire loss decrease? 'Who" asked the editors of the nation, "would give that a line of type?" The next year found flames consuming less property in the nation and the warning that was buried in the humdrum fire news of 1927 broke without warning to be the biggest story of the year in 1929. "Stock market crash!" headlines screamed across the nation. The news they would not print had told a story long before it broke. The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia had always been more than an organization dedicated to protection of the community and a tn-county area against the ravages of fire. It was a community pride and institution in its own right. Great names of past and present were associated with it and through the commanding place it held it had observed, helped and co-operated with community life. The company was called upon now to face one of its most difficult periods. Depression meant more people out of work. Less money for protection of property was available. Progress slowed, ruthless panic—politely called "depression"----set in. Economists talked and well-intended officials bungled, but there was no way out. Apples were sold on street corners by men and women who, a few short years before, were "speculators" in the stock market. Again fire loss was the barometer of economic standards. In 1935 a new low was reached. The nation showed only $235,263,401 consumed by flames—half of the total loss sustained in 1906! America's economic tide was ebbing, but the late thirties found new heart being taken. Rumblings of war resounded through Europe. Northeast Philadelphia whisked the cobwebs from the wheels of production. The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company had weathered another storm. Down through the years it had advised people how to guard against fires and paid its assured clients promptly whether or not they had followed its suggestions.

Barometer of Prosperity As the company celebrates its 100th anniversary the area it protects is more conscious of the danger of fire than at any time in our history. Army officials point out the possibility of extensive damage from enemy bombings. Children know how to fight incendiaries. Young and old are fire conscious. While not insuring persons against death by fire, the program of the company in advising, suggesting and investigating when new risks are brought to the attention of its officials save lives, undoubtedly. Today, 15,000 persons are killed annually in fireruined buildings. Of the approximately 8,000 fires in an average year in Philadelphia about one-third are caused from matches and cigarette and cigar butts. Defective chimneys account for about five percent. Only a few hundred fall into the general classification of "unpreventable". The rest are a result of direct carelessness or negligence. During the depression years city revenue fell off and fire equipment was among the units which deteriorated. In the last two years Philadelphia has purchased some excellent new apparatus and the full fire prevention and protection program has been improved. Great new areas of homes have been opened and the "country" sections around the home town of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company are thriving districts of homes, stores, churches and schools. American life at its best, despite the present war crisis, is represented here and the company that has kept faith with generations is doing an even more important and wider range of service today. It's Spring again on old Main Street, now Frankford Avenue. Folks are talking about the 75,000 airplanes we will build in 1943, and of the gains we are making to assure our future and that of the generations to follow. Men in working clothes and women in the appropriate industrial slacks of the era go proudly to their manual tasks and enjoy the early Spring sunshine en route. It is the first week of April, 1943. The legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approved an incorporation of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia just 100 years ago. Its act has borne extensive results. Through early struggles, war, panic and uncertain progress of Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties the company

Guarding a Century has extended a scope of protection against fire. Its officers and personnel are dedicated to serving to the best of their ability a people who are busy today working for Democracy. The aim and effort of The Frankford Mutual Fire Insurance Company of the County of Philadelphia shall always be to back every principle of freedom cherished by Americans and to help keep this little corner of the nation well guarded against the ravages of fire.


.............................................. ................ .... .... .................... ............ ............ ..... ....... ......

1843-1848 1848-1849 1849-1856

......................... ...............................................

JOSEPHA. WARNE .................................................................... 1856-1879 SAMUEL BOLTON ........................ ... ......................................... 1879-1886 EDWING. LEE ........................................................................ 1886-1891 JOHN SHALLCROSS .................................................................. 1891-1898 HENRY M. TAYLOR
......................... ........ ............................. .... .... ......... .............................. ........ ..... .......... ............................................

1898-1902 1902-1910 1911-1933 1933-1935 1935-1942 1943—


.............. ........... .......................... ............... ................................................ ....


............. ................ .......... .... .............

................. .......................................


SAMUEL BOLTON .................................................................... 1893-1902 JAMESHUGHES ........................................................................ 1903-1924 GEORGEE. SAUL
.................... ....... .........................................


Secretary and Treasurer WILLIAM C. TAYLOR
.. ..................... .............................. .......


........................ .............. ... ... ........


.................................................... .... ........ .......... .... .... ..... ....................................... ................. .... .... ................. ................ ....

1842-1881 1881-1912 1912-1931 1931-


......................................................... ...........

* Served 50 years 33