History of the Boght Community Fire Company and the Community

In 1609, Henry Hudson, looking for a passage to India, sailed his ship, the Halfmoon, up the river which now bears his name. His reports of what he saw and description of the beautiful region interested the Dutch government and by 1623 they established a trading post at Fort Orange which later became Albany. In those days this was all wilderness, game in the forest, fish in the streams, and Indians, mostly friendly. This was the land of the five nations; the Senecas, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Mohawks who occupied the Hudson and Mohawk River regions.

The British acquired all Dutch possessions in North America in 1664, claiming prior discovery but offered patroonships to several wealthy Dutch families providing they would bring colonists to occupy the the land. Kiliaen Van Rensselaer became the Lord of the Manor by obtaining 24 miles on each side of the Hudson River flats, including Fort Orange, an area of approximately 1000 square miles.

The first permanent settlers were hardly pioneers, mostly Dutch then English. Trade was always important and led to the development of saw mills, grist mills, tanneries, paper mills and other industries which led to the growth of small hamlets throughout the area. Early transportation was by water. Sloops and schooners going up and down the Hudson River, narrow paths from one settlement to another gradually improved to wagons and horses and then widened to form turnpikes.

In 1756, work was started on the Loudon Rd., Rt. No. 9, which was a continuation of Pearl St. in Albany. Lord Loudon, the Earl of Campbell, the Commander in Chief of the English Army during the French and Indian War of 1754-1763, directed the building of the plank road. He had the road built for military purposes during the French and Indian War and it later got use during the Revolutionary War, as troops traveled from Canada to Pennsylvania. Even then it had the beginning of the main artery from New York City to Canada. Since there were no bridges over the Mohawk River, it was only natural that ferry landings should spring up. This led to the ferrys at Forts Ferry, Dunsbach Ferry, Vischers Ferry, and Loudon Ferry, all named after the men who organized them.

The Loudon Ferry was perhaps one of the more famous and was located on the Mohawk River at Loudon Road. It was constructed in 1755 as a military road from Albany to Lake George by the Provincial Troops from New York, New England, and New Jersey under the command of Major William Johnson. The ferry was named in honor of Lord Loudon.

In 1776 it was used by General Henry Knox to move artillery from Ticonderoga down through New York State and finally to Boston to help General George Washington in the siege of Boston. This all led to the Dutch settlement originally known as Grosbecks Corners on Loudon Road west of Cohoes, the first city north of Albany. In later years Grosbecks Corners was named The Boght, which means bends in Dutch.

The Boght is noted as the site of the First Reformed Dutch Church dating back to 1642. The Boght Church was formally organized on April 14, 1784 and was originally located on Baker Avenue at Vliet Street. The present church was erected in 1847. Fire protection in the area was non-existent in the early days of the community. Prior to the formation of the Boght Fire Company, the Cohoes Fire Department would, on occasion of serious fires, dispatch an engine to cope with the situation. However, this became expensive, time consuming and would interfere with the normal routine protection of the City of Cohoes.

As a result of the poor fire protection in the Boght, a group of men, interested in the organization of a fire department for the community, got together on July 8, 1940 and organized the Boght Community Fire Company. The fire company was incorporated on April 11, 1941 in a small room in the rear of the Boght Church, which was the meeting room at that time. The first fire engine for the community was a 1922 Stutz, 750 G.P.M. pumper, purchased from the Middletown Fire Company in 1940. With the cooperation of the community and hard work of the members, a firehouse was built on Boght Road in 1940. A community association was organized and did much to obtain furnishings for the firehouse.

Due to the growth of the community, the fire district purchased a Sanford pumper on a Ford chassis in 1948. This new pumper along with the old one provided sufficient fire protection for the size of the community at that time. The Ladies Auxiliary was organized in November, 1950 after a large barn fire at the Carr farm on Route 9. Since this date, the women have provided an important service to the fire company with financial support and by providing refreshments after emergency calls.

Realizing the lack of emergency care for the injured and the ill, in 1951 the Boght Community Rescue Squad was organized and a Pontiac ambulance was purchased. The rescue squad was the first in the Town of Colonie and served Latham and Maplewood as well as our own district. Through the years the rescue squad has purchased more advanced medical equipment, and has become better trained in the medical field. The rescue squad now owns a 1975 Modular ambulance which is equipped with the most modern equipment and is manned by several E.M.T.’s and Paramedics which communicate directly with doctors to provide one of the better life support units in the area. The rescue squad answers 300-400 emergency calls a year in our own fire district and also in the Maplewood Fire District.

After many reliable years of service to the community, the 1922 Stutz was retired from service when the fire district purchased a new Maxim, 750 G.P.M. pumper in 1955. Also in the same year an addition was built on to the firehouse to provide a larger community hall and a recreation area for the firemen. Due to the need for more fire protection in the community, a new firehouse was built in 1965 and a new Hahn, 1000 G.P.M. pumper, was purchased in 1966. Also to increase our rescue ability, a rescue truck was purchased in 1966 and served the community’s purpose until 1971 when the rescue truck was replaced by a better equipped 1971 Dodge 500, four wheel drive.

In 1976 we furthered our vehicle rescue ability after we purchased a Hurst tool, which in the last year has been used to save lives in our district and in surrounding fire districts many times. Following new fire fighting principles around the nation, a committee of officers decided to adjust our fire fighting tactics to a quick attack principle. The first adjustment was made in 1974 when we purchased a new Pierce quick attack pumper which replaced the 1948 Ford. The second adjustment was made by purchasing a 1977 Young-Hendrickson, 1250 G.P.M. pumper, which is designed to be the attack pumper supporting the quick attack pumper.

As our Fire District continued to grow, so did our need to improve and update our equipment. In 1984 we replaced our 1971 rescue truck with a Saulsbury Rescue Vehicle. This truck was equipped with an on-board generator, and carried all the sophisticated rescue equipment used today. As prices of new fire trucks continued to climb, it was decided to refurbish rather than replace our 1966 Hahn pumper. The steel body was replaced with an aluminum body and the water tank size was increased from 500 gallons to 750 gallons. In 1987 the mini pumper concept was no longer a functional component of our department.

As we looked into the future and seeing our district’s population double in size, we replaced the mini pumper with an American Eagle pumper. Also in 1989, the 1977 Young was also replaced by another American Eagle pumper. With the many hours now needed for EMS training and the ability to provide adequate ambulance service, we were forced to turn over the ambulance service to the Town of Colonie which greatly improved our service to our district.

Through the hard work, many hours spent and dedication of the members of the fire company and auxiliary we continue to have an organization that our members and our community can be proud of.

Charter Members

Lester Adsit*

Russell Bison*

Kenneth Lansing

George Phoinix*

Howard Powers*

William Reepmeyer

Edward Rowe*

Fred Ruhland*