Fire Department History


Missouri as a state and the creation of a Capitol city.

August 10, 1821.
Missouri was admitted to the union as the 24th state. From 1821 through 1826 legislators met in St. Louis hotels and in a temporary Capitol building in St. Charles. During 1821 an expedition began a search for a new Capitol city.

December 1, 1821. The Missouri legislature selected a site for new Capitol, located on the Missouri River in central Missouri, The new site was halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City by riverboat. During January 1822 the name Jefferson City was chosen by the legislature. The third United States President, Thomas Jefferson had a vision of westward expansion of the United States borders, Jefferson City was named in his honor.

November 1825. Jefferson City was incorporated and by 1826 there was a general store, a hotel and a tavern, thirty one families lived in the new capitol city. During 1836 a new capitol building was constructed on the end of Jefferson St. two hundred feet from the Missouri River. The new brick building was built by James Dunnica.

November 15, 1837. A late evening fire destroyed the State Capitol. Witnesses reported seeing smoke of unusual appearance coming from the building. An alarm of "Fire" alerted legislators and citizens, but no fire company was yet formed. The building was a total loss that night. On November 25, 1837, the Jeffersonian Republican pleaded with the population to form a fire company. In 1840 construction was completed on a new Capitol building on Howard's Bluff, just above the location of the first Capitol.

                                                              Two Volunteer Fire Companies are formed

January 26, 1842. Resolutions were presented to the city by Jno. Gorden, Colonel William Minor, General James Minor, (both of the state militia) Thomas Miller, William Kerr, Horsley Rea and C.W. Stuart. These resolutions created two fire companies and even today still govern the fire department. Two fire companies were formed that night, one was east of Madison St. with members Jno. Gorden, Charles Meredith, P. Steinberger and J. M. Duncan, the other west of Madison with members James Crump, Thomas Miller, C. W. Stuart and Henry Robinson. Jno. Gorden became Jefferson City's first fire chief.

Through the 1840's into the 1860's Jefferson City saw new railroads and two new communities; Richmond Hill on the northwest side and Muenichburg on the south side. By 1868, Jefferson City was rebuilding from the after-effects of the civil war.

For further history, see the attached links below.

Chief John Fitzpartick 1868-1885

Chiefs Henry Gerstenkorn, Charlie Palmer, John Linhardt Henry Schmidt and Joe Frank 1885-1900

Chiefs Louis Ott, Louis Withaup, James Frazier and Ed Gray 1900-1912

The Career Department with Chiefs John Case, O.P. "Pode" Jones and Louis Rencheval

Chief Ferd Robertson 1923-1948

Chief John Sullivan 1949-1968

Chiefs Donald Hunter, Vincent Willmeno and Interim Chiefs Donald Thompson and Roy Hogg 1968-1979

Chief Robert Rennick and Interim Chief Jason Turner

Chief Matthew Schofield