On the Box: A History of Firefighting in Youngstown (2016)

Exhibit runs till Mid-January 2017

Public Opening: October 15, 2016

The next exhibit opening at the Tyler History Center is a collaboration between MVHS and local firefighting historian and collector Greg Ricker. Ricker, an Austintown native whose family connection to firefighting sparked his interest in the profession at an early age, will guest-curate the exhibit. On the Box: A History of Firefighting in Youngstown will be featured in the Youngstown Foundation Community History Gallery.

While growing up, Ricker frequently visited the old Austintown fire station on Mahoning Avenue where members of his family volunteered. He began collecting firefighting-related toys and memorabilia in the late 1980s, and his interest in the Youngstown Fire Department began in 1990. Since then, Ricker has worked to collect and preserve as much of the department’s history as possible.

The new exhibit will feature Ricker’s private collection as well as items from the historical society’s collection. It will explore over a century of the Youngstown Fire Department’s history through images, tools and equipment, uniforms, documents, and the stories of the men and women who have served.

The exhibit will be on display through mid-January, 2017. The Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center is open to the public Tuesday-Sunday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.  Admission is $4 for adults; $3 for seniors and college students and $2 for children. It is located at 325 West Federal Street, Youngstown, Ohio 44503.

(Additional note: Greg is also the owner and webmaster of youngstownfire.com.)

On the Box: A History of Firefighting in Youngstown Virtual Exhibit

Exhibit Entrance / Main Hallway

1. Station 3 Blueprints and various YFD Photos. Along each side of the entrance wall, various photos of the Youngstown Fire Department were displayed. Also along one wall was a blueprint of Station No.3 after the move from Arlington and Thomas to Belmont and Emerson Place, which took place in 1932. 

2. More historical photos on the opposite wall. 

3. Exhibit information before you enter the main room. The first page reads as follows:

On the Box
 

     In the days prior to telephones, the best way to summon help was to use one of many fire alarm boxes located throughout the city. When a box was received, city firefighters were sent on the box to investigate and provide whatever assistance was needed. Today with computers and instant communication, the Youngstown Fire Department still sends companies on the box. A box 4 will get one to three companies responding while a box 5 is reserved for more urgent and larger calls like a structure fire and will get more companies sent. Just as the department did in the 1860’s, today’s firefighters still respond on the box to investigate and still provide whatever assistance is needed.

 

This exhibit is guest-curated by local firefighting historian and collector Greg Ricker. Ricker is an Austintown native whose family connection to firefighting sparked his interest in the profession at an early age. While growing up, he frequently visited the old Austintown fire station on Mahoning ave where members of his family volunteered. He began collecting firefighting-related toys and memorabilia in the late 1980s, and his interest in the Youngstown Fire Department began in 1990. Since then, Ricker has worked to collect and preserve as much of the department's history as possible. 

Special thanks to the following people for their continued support and knowledge:
YFD Captain Fred DeLuca                         Retired Battalion Chief James Flynn                
Captain John Reiter                                   Retired Lieutenant Marty Lipinsky             

Retired Firefighter Phil McGuire                Retired Captain Kevin Johnson
Retired Captain Alvin Ware                    

In memory of those who helped preserve and document the history of the YFD but are no longer with us:
Robin Birkholtz                                           Ed Conricote 

Sharyl Frasier                                             Morris Haggerty                                        


The Mahoning Valley Historical Society for their assistance in creating this exhibit.

And finally to the men and women of the Youngstown Fire Department past and present, thank you. Without you, there would be no history.

4. Framed original images used in the 1914 YFD history book

Main Room

1. Gamewell Ticker Tape setup similar to what was used in various Youngstown fire houses.

2. Assorted historic YFD photos.

3. Assortment of nozzels and information on Homer Whittenberger.

4. Call boxes. On display in this area include an assortment of photos of Youngstown's fire call box system, a cabinet of YFD run cards showing city streets and which fire companies should respond on various alarms, and two city call boxes from different eras. 

5. TV. The historical society put together a continuous video clip of news segments from the WKBN video archives.

6. Helmets. Various YFD helmets from different time frames were displayed along with YFD attire. 

7. Current day turnout gear and a dress uniform were on display.

8. St Columba's Cathedral Fire. An YFD Engine 7/Ladder 21 run book from 1954 open to the page for St Columba's Cathedral fire. Photos from the 1954 fire are mounted on the wall.

9. Doors. The two doors displayed in this section were from different YFD trucks that were scrapped years ago.

10. J. Harvey Leedy. In this corner were displayed memorabilia on J. Harvey Leedy. Leedy was a city fireman at Station No.4 and also a well known artist. Among his works is the oringinal painting of the Freedonia Carriage Works fire, a part of the historical society collection.

11. Log book from city fire station No.4 showing entries when Leedy was on the watch desk.

12. Various extinguishers.

13. Closeup of the Freedonia Carriage Works fire and a history on Leedy.

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DISCLAIMER: This site is not an "official" city of Youngstown website. Any official department business should be directed to the Fire Chief's office at 330-747-7403. The content provided is believed to be an accurate representation of the YFD. This site is a tribute to the firefighters who serve the City of Youngstown and its citizens. The Job Opportunities section should not be considered as an official notice of examination. Information regarding testing dates will be listed on the City of Youngstown's official web site. No city funds were or are used for this website.

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