Visit Junction City | Junction City Historical Society | Our Photo Album
And you think we have tax problems now!
This photo shows the City Hall, which was the volunteer fire department's first home The first floor was the engine room. In the rear was a stable where a good team of horses was kept in readiness at all times. But it didn't happen overnight...
In the fall of 1877 the city council voted to appropriate $500 towards the purchase of a fire engine if the citizens and merchants of Junction City would pay a like amount. The merchants refused to pay their part and so the deal was withdrawn and the fire engine was not purchased.
On October 5th of the following year a fire broke out in Solomon's Store. It spread to the opera house and hotel, several shops, many homes and four warehouses. Damage was estimated at $55,375.
On June 9 1877 after the city had been ravaged by fire on numerous occasions a tax of three mills on the dollar was levied for the purchase of a fire engine. The citizens raised such an overwhelming opposition about the tax that the order was rescinded. In 1879 the citizens again turned down fire protection and the following year fire destroyed Howard's Warehouse valued at $17,000.
In 1882 fire destroyed the Kratz, Washburne, and Howard Mill companies valued at $30,000 and two nights later Solomon's warehouse. Insurance companies than shelved the town and would not offer protection for one year.
At that point, it appears the townspeople decided to re-think their position.
In 1897 the city purchased Steam Pumper # 1 to fight fires. It was shipped by sea around Cape Horn to Portland and delivered to Junction City where it served until 1935. The pumper was first drawn by horses and then in 1923 by a model T.
Steam Pumper #1's most exciting feat may well be the time that the Springfield Booth Kelly Mill was on fire and the city was in danger of being wiped out by fire. Junction City responded to Springfield’s urgent cry for help by loading the pumper onto a train flatcar and highballing behind one of Southern Pacific's fastest locomotives. It made it to Springfield in 17 minutes.