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Volunteer Companies:

Monumental Engine Company No. 6, No. 7 & No. 8

Date Organized:  June, 1850

Brenham Place, west side, facing Portsmouth Square at Clay, Kearny and Dupont Streets.
A two story fireproof brick building, city property, in good condition, (1860).

The old volunteers tried to outdo themselves in constructing the most elegant and grand building to house their engines, and also have a place to entertain their friends. One of the finest of these was the "Hall" of the Monumental Engine Company as it was known in the days gone by. It was a magnificent building, originally two stones in height, the first having a granite front, the second being freestone, massive pilasters of Corinthian style supported cornices. In the facade was a large clock, which was illuminated by night. Over the pediment of the clock was a cupola the dome of which rested on eight Corinthian columns. The interior was more elaborate, with a winding marble stairway and polished mahogany banisters. The front windows were imported stained glass with the insignia and motto of the Monumental's "We stand to serve." The floors were laid with deep Oriental rugs and the rooms draped with rich burgundy velvet drapes. The furniture was made of beautiful hand carved wood with red plush seats.

Motto: "We stand to serve"

Chief Engineer: (The Monumentals originally used this title as there were three companies to command)
1850 George H. Hossefross

1860 William H, Silverthorn
1862 John L. Durkee
1864 William J. Bohen
1866 W.D.L. Hall

1855 Engines: three pieces known in Baltimore as the Mechanical, Union and Franklin.
1860, January 7th: The Torboss engine was sold to the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department for $2,500
1860 Engine: John Rogers, Baltimore, first class, company property.  Hose carriage, two wheel, company property.
1862 Engine: Lee & Larned, New York, second class steam engine, city property - THE FIRST STEAM ENGINE IN CALIFORNIA
After a satisfactory trial, this steam engine was purchased by the City at cost of $5,500 from Tiffany & Wetbered, of San Francisco, who imported the engine from New York.

* MONUMENTAL ENGINE COMPANIES, NOS. 6 and 7. - These companies were organized in June, 1850, consisting of three engines, on the plan of the Baltimore fire department, as an independent association. They procured the three pieces known in Baltimore as the Mechanical, Union and Franklin, which had been shipped to this city. The principal parties in this association were Messrs. George H. Hossefros, Wm. Divier, John S. Weathred, Joseph Capprise, Robert B. Hampton, W. H. Silverthorn, J. H. Ruddach, and other old Baltimorean firemen. As the city councils could not recognize independent companies, they refused to appropriate any moneys to their use. The companies hesitated to comply with their ordinance until 13th of September, when they joined the general organization as three companies and received the numbers 6, 7, and 8; thus by their delay being numbered higher than companies which had been formed later. They have always done good duty, and have as high as three hundred enrolled members. The first officers of the association under its old rules were, William Divier, president; R. H. Bennett and W. L. Bromley, vice-presidents; George H. Hossefros, chief engineer; W. H. Silverthorn and - Austin, assistant engineers; W. Lippincott, secretary; and R. B. Hampton, treasurer. In January, 1853, they resigned the number of 8, and ran two companies, 6 and 7; and at this date, April 1, 1854, they have resolved themselves into one number, 6, for the purpose of properly working a new piece of apparatus, of the largest class, built by Messrs. Rogers, of Baltimore. and shipped in February. This will be the largest engine on the Pacific, and will require a large force to work it. Mr. George H. Hossefros, late chief engineer for two years, has been elected foreman of the consolidated Monumental Company, No. 6. Their house is located in Brenham Place, facing Portsmouth Square, and is surmounted with a bell-not merely a bell, but “the bell“ of San Francisco, for who is conversant with the history of this city in 1851, that does not remember the awful tones of this bell, as it gave the signal for the assembling of the Vigilance Committee, and tolled the death-knells of four of the most accomplished villains that ever disgraced California? It was the first bell for public purposes ever raised in the city; weighs only one hundred and eighty pounds, and cost one dollar per pound. For clearness of sound it cannot be excelled, and even now competes with the city bell.
* Source: Frank Soulé, John H. Gihon, M.D., and James Nisbet. The Annals of San Francisco. 1855: San Francisco

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