Orlando was a very interesting character. He was born in 1838 in the Town of Union and spent part of his youth on a farm in Mc Kean County, Pennsylvania. He was a veteran of the Civil War who served with Company H, Tenth Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry and fought in battles at Dranesville, Mechanicsville, Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. He was captured near Stephensville, Virginia in 1864 and survived 11 months at Andersonville Prison.
In the mid 1920's a large fire on property owned by the Davis family prompted residents of the community to think about starting a volunteer fire company. On September 13, 1921 residents met and agreed to form Endwell's first fire company.
Within a month, Endwell resident Orlando L. Davis had donated land as a site for the first fire station. The land is located just off Main Street Near the corner of Davis Ave. and Marne Avenue. Today Endwell's fire station #2 still stands on this same location. The fire company was named after Davis for his generosity in donating the land. Mr. Davis was never a member of the fire company (he was 83 years old at the time of its formation) but his grandson, William O. Davis was a firefighter and served on the Board of Fire Commissioners in later years.
By October 21st, 1921, the fireman had collected $2,000 towards the project. The money was raised by a house-to-house campaign conducted by the charter members.
As he did with so many community projects, George F Johnson, the founder of Endicott Johnson Corporation, pitched in to help. In a letter dated February 6, 1923, George F. wrote to the department's first chief, George Burt.
"I enclose you a check for one thousand dollars. If you get into trouble, let me know. You certainly have cut out a pretty ambitious program for a young community. A total proposed cost of $7,705.89 leaving a debt of $4,689.80 after all pledges are paid, reduced by $1,000, makes $3,680.89. This is a pretty good sized job for a small community of working people; but 'nothing ventured, nothing gained'; and with the spirit you have shown so far, I think you will pull out all right.
At any rate, I stand ready to help if you get into trouble.
George F. Johnson
George F. Johnson's donation went to purchase the district's first fire truck, a Model T, and the department was in the business of firefighting.
In 1923 residents decided to formally organize under state law as a fire district. This gave them the ability to raise taxes to pay for their firefighting equipment. On May 9, 1923, the Broome County Board of Supervisors approved a proposition establishing the Endwell Fire District in response to petitions from residents of the area.
A special election was held on December 14th, 1923, to elect the first Board of Fire Commissioners for the district. Elected were Robert Weir, Eugene Compton, Matthew Brown, Frank Nystrom, and Emmett L. Brink.
At that time the fire district took over all the outstanding debts and purchased the land and equipment of the fire company for $6,000. This included the land, building (including painting and other improvements), truck and equipment, and hose. Bonds were issued to pay for this debt and were paid back in installments of $1.500/year for four years.
The years of 1940-1950 were a busy period for Endwell. During this time the population doubled from 5,000 to 10,000 residents (current population is approximately 15,000). Most of the new homes were being built north of Main Street. As a result of this growth, the center of the population shifted away from the southside. In the mid 50's it became apparent that a new, more centrally located station was needed and the fire district selected a location near the intersection of Hooper and Country Club Roads.
The new station was much larger and more modern than the station on Davis Street. This new station was built for $130,000 and had 4 bays, room for offices and meetings and a large community room upstairs over the truck bays. Station #1, was dedicated on July 7th, 1956, and became the central station for the quickly growing Endwell area.
In 1991 this station was extensively refurbished and an addition added. The addition allowed for more space for vehicles, office and storage space and included a new community room. The old community room, originally located on the second floor of the fire station, was removed to allow for additional height on the apparatus floor to accommodate taller vehicles. Renovations included a totally rebuilt apparatus floor, new heating system, and making the building more energy efficient.
Over the next 10 years Endwell continued to grow to the north and by the early 1960s, the volunteer firemen realized that another station was needed close to homes on the north side of the district. A lot was purchased on Chrysler Road, off of Farm to Market Road, for $3,500, as a location for this new fire station. At the same time, they realized that the original O. L. Davis fire station on Davis Street, now over 40 years old was very antiquated. Rather than overhead garage doors, this station had old fashioned push out double doors which were slow to open and close when fire apparatus responded. It was decided that at the same time the new station was being built on Chrysler Road (station #3) that the Davis Street station would be razed and replaced with a new, more modern station, a twin to the one being placed on Chrysler Road. And so in 1965, the contract was awarded to build two new fire stations at a cost of $49,000 for the Davis Street station and $52,000 for the Chrysler Road station. By 1966 both stations were complete giving Endwell the three stations which currently provide coverage to the residents of Endwell.
Unfortunately, sometimes we can not influence or write our own history. In the 1980's Endwell had not one, but two strings of arson fires which brought significant attention to our community and department.