Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Labor Day Fireman's Musters

Labor Day is this coming weekend.  In the circa 1920 era, local people spent the weekend watching the competition among area fire departments, called a muster. The tournament, organized by the Willamette Valley Firemen's Association, was held in different cities each year, with Corvallis hosting in 1913, 1916, 1920, and possibly some other years as well.  One popular event was the hose race, in which teams of firemen competed to see which was the fastest at pulling a cart wound with a long fire hose.
Other events included a nozzle race (fastest to connect the hose) and a hose and ladder race.
The winner of the water fight was the team which could stand with their backs to the water from a fire hose 40 feet away.

Another event which the public enjoyed was demonstrations of fire-fighting skills such as raising a ladder and climbing to the roof of Corvallis's Julian Hotel.
The weekend also included a parade, a banquet, and a ball.

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon 

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