More than a century of service

Local fire station applies for Guinness World Record

The Manistee Fire Department has continuously served the area for 128 years without hesitation. (Ashlyn Korienek/ News Advocate)

The Manistee Fire Department has continuously served the area for 128 years without hesitation. (Ashlyn Korienek/ News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee has deep historical roots that spread throughout the community, starting with a fire department that has continuously served the area for 128 years without hesitation.

After a century of service the efforts of the Manistee Fire Department could go global, with a Guinness World Record attempt recently made through firefighters and local city officials.

If granted, the department would received the title for “Oldest Continuously Manned Fire Station.”

Fred LaPoint, Manistee Fire Department official, said he and other city workers spent the past month gathering information, photos and documents for the application. The results could take up to 15 weeks.

The department has submitted more than 50 pages to Guinness, with various photos and past documents. A video was also created by Brian Veine, who edited and directed the video.

“This has been a full-time, professional fire department since we came into existence,” LaPoint said. “While there might be other fire stations around as old as we are, none of them have been fully operational as we have. That means someone has always been here 24 hours a day and 365 days a year for the past 128 years.”

LaPoint first headed the idea nearly 10 years ago; however, it took off recently when Manistee City Police Department public safety director Tim Kozal gave his approval.

“When chief Kozal came on board, I expressed an interest to him in continuing my efforts, and he was

The Manistee Fire Department had horse-drawn steam engines and a carriage house back at its start. (Courtesy)

The Manistee Fire Department had horse-drawn steam engines and a carriage house back at its start. (Courtesy)

fully supportive and told me to get it done,” LaPoint said.

The Manistee Fire Hall was first constructed by Fredrick Hollister, of Saginaw, in 1888, but was not operational until July of 1889. It was granted the title of the oldest, continuously active fire station in the State of Michigan in 1989, during its 100th birthday recognition.

The first ever fire truck was a horse-drawn steam engine, which was brought from the original hall built in 1869 at 67 Filer St. — relocated due to growth of the city in the ’70s and ’80s.

After the “Great Fire of 1871,” the city suffered a significant loss and the fire hall needed to be replaced — the city’s first steam engine was even destroyed. The city decided to appoint a full-time fire department.

“At the time, the station was built at the location it is today,” LaPoint said. “It converted from a conscript fire department (when it was first approved by city council in 1888),” said LaPoint. “Previous to 1873, the city recognized the fire department in late 1969. They also created a fire commission at that time.”

The current fire hall has seen very few changes in the structure itself since it was first built.

“Part of the pride we have, is we have been fortunate enough to take care of the station and keep it as it was intended for the people when it was built for us,” LaPoint said. “The station remains pretty much as it did… it still functions as a fire station as it did back then.”

While the city awaits the final status, LaPoint said attaining the title would bring high recognition to the Manistee Fire Hall and its past and present firefighters. Right now, the department has eight firefighters and a fire chief.

“It’s a great tribute to everybody that works here or who has in the past,” he said. “As well as the people of the city of Manistee, giving it a draw point for tourism and bragging rights for the entire community.”

 

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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