January 29th, 2010
The newest artifact purchased/recovered by the Austin Fire Museum is this South Austin Fire Company #5 badge. This style of badge is consistent with many of the badges created for the Austin Fire Department fire companies during the end of the Austin volunteer era between 1900-1916.
South Austin Fire Company #5 was organized in 1895 and was located at 1315 South Congress Ave. Their company motto was “To the Rescue” and their territory consisted of all of the area south of the Colorado River.
A special thanks to Austin Fire Capt. David Leonard (Quint 19 B-shift) for bringing the sale of this irreplaceable piece of Austin Fire Department history to our attention so that we could be in a position to purchase it. Thanks again Dave! Read the rest of this entry »
December 1st, 2009
Year Organized: 1896
Year Disbanded: Became Engine 3 of the paid department in 1916
Motto: To Preserve Life and Property
North Austin Fire Company Number 6 organized on August 1, 1896, by the citizens of North Austin, principally from the 5th and 6th wards.
At the time, this area was Austin´s first suburb, named Hyde Park. H. E. Seekatz was appointed as the company´s first foreman. They initially occupied an old wooden building at the corner of 30th and Rio Grande Streets.
Sometime during 1905 or 1906, the company built a two-story brick fire hall at 3002 Guadalupe Street. The building still stands today just north of the University of Texas campus. Read the rest of this entry »
October 12th, 2009
Silas Steen “Spider” Smith was born on January 27, 1913. Prior to becoming a firefighter Steen Smith was a carpenter and brakeman for the railroad in Brownwood, TX from 1942-44. Steen was appointed hoseman to the Austin Fire Department on 8/23/1944. He spent his first year between Hose Co. 1 and Engine Co. 2. In 1945 he was assigned to Engine Co. 5. Steen was promoted to Driver in 1952 and assigned to Engine Co. 12. In 1959 Steen attained the rank of Captain I and went to Truck Co. 2. In 1968, when the Captain I rank was re-classified as Lieutenant, Steen’s rank was modified to Lieutenant. He retired in 1974 after 29 years of service. In the 1940′s Steen, along with several other firefighters, led in the organization of the Austin Firefighter’s Association. Steen got the nickname “Spider” for his lanky 6’1″ 155lb frame. As of just a few years ago, well into his 90′s, Steen often stopped by fire stations to say hello and visit with us.