Our Fire House is located at 21 North Church Street in Thurmont. This is just north of the intersection of Maryland Route 77 and Maryland Route 550.
The first fire hall was located in a garage under the Town Hall, and the bell hanging in a bell tower on the roof was rung to alert the firefighters. This structure, built in 1890, was torn down in 1950 to make way for construction of the past Fire Hall.
The bell that had hung in the bell tower on the old Town Hall is now the centerpiece of the Eugene McKissick Memorial to deceased Guardian Hose Company members. The Memorial is currently located to the southern end of the fire house next to the side parking lot.
Cornerstone Laying, July 4, 1950
Left to Right: Richard S. Willhide, Charles R. Ambrose, Harry O. Miller,
Kleason Stull, and Fire Chief George Black
Pictured below is the past Fire Hall soon after construction was completed. We raised the engine bay doors by two feet to allow our 1987 Squad truck to fit in the building; other than that modification, the appearance of the Fire Hall did not change all that much over the 56 years that the fire house existed.
The fire house built in 1950 cost $42,000 and was big enough to hold all 4 large pieces of apparatus by putting one piece of apparatus infront of the other in the two bays. The Engine Tanker sat behind the Engine on the right side of the bay. The Rescue Engine sat behind the Rescue Squad on the left side of the bay. To the rear of the fire house were two separate detached buildings. One of the buildings was a two bay brick building that housed both of our brush trucks. The second building was a large two bay metal building. That building held the old Ford Dully Utility Vehicle, the Duty car and the Chevrolet Suburban Utility Vehicle. This building also housed our additional hoses and tools.
In 2004 and 2005 the Guardian Hose Company began the process to replace the old fire house. Our former Fire Hall no longer accommodated all of our emergency apparatus or our needs. The Guardian Hose Company was outgrowing the existing fire house and the men and women knew that something needed to be done.
The new fire house would take the place of the three existing buildings that housed all the apparatus and be slightly wider. A portion of the parking lot from the old fire house would be lost due to the increased size in the building. The layouts for the new fire house would allow for all 4 main pieces of apparatus to be lined up side by side. The layout also allowed for room to the rear of those pieces to house the brush trucks and other vehicles that would have a bay door on the northern end of the building.
Groundbreaking for the new fire house was held on Sunday July 2, 2006. It was estimated that construction would take 8 months to complete. Construction cost for the new fire house was estimated at $2.2 million.
On Sunday, July 2, 2006, the former fire hall was decommissioned in a solemn public ceremony. Citizens, elected officials, and members of the Guardian Hose Company gathered in the Fire Hall for the event. The building's two cornerstones were removed, the United States and Maryland State flags were lowered, and the bell on the McKissick memorial was rung. Immediately after the decommissioning ceremony concluded, a ground breaking ceremony for the new fire hall was held. During the construction of the new fire house the company housed the apparatus in an old garage behind the old Co-op facility on Walnut St.
Guardian Hose President Wayne Stackhouse speaks at the ceremony on Sunday July 2, 2006
Guardian Hose Company Members (left to right) Richard M. Willhide, Robert L. Willhide, James H. Mackley, and Donald E. Stitely pose before removing the cornerstones.
Guardian Hose Company President Wayne Stackhouse turns over the first shovelful of dirt for the Groundbreaking Ceremony. To President Stackhouse's left are: Guardian Hose Company Chief Chris Kinnaird, Thurmont Mayor Marty Burns, President of the Board of Frederick County Commissioners John "Lennie" Thompson, Jr., and Frederick County Commissioner John Lovell.
Guardian Hose Company Chaplain Reverend James Hamrick addresses the crowd before delivering the benediction at the conclusion of the Fire Hall Decommissioning and Ground Breaking Ceremony.
After the Ceremony had concluded, members of the Guardian Hose Company who were present posed for a final group photograph in front of the soon to be demolished fire hall.
All photos above are courtesy of John Kinnaird. Additional photos may be found at the following link http://thurmontfirst.com
Photos of the demolition of the fire house also courtesy of John Kinnaird; may be found at the following link http://thurmontfirst.com
In May 2007 the Guardian Hose Company moved into the new fire house.