Historical group hope to restore Calif. fire station siren

Memorabilia such as antique fire equipment and photographs will be housed inside the fire station

By Sandra Emerson
The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

UPLAND, Calif. — When the siren on the city's first fire station went off at noon every day in the mid-1960s, Joe Pattison knew it was lunch time for local workers.

At the time, Pattison was attending St. Joseph's Catholic School in Upland, and the siren was used primarily as a lunch bell.

It eventually stopped working.

Today, Pattison and his fellow members of the E Clampus Vitus fraternal organization are trying to restore the siren to once again make it usable.

"We just drove by and saw it on the roof and thought it would be fun to restore, so we talked the city into letting us do it," said Pattison, who is part of the Billy Holcomb chapter.

The fire station, which is next door to the Carnegie Library building, was built in 1915 and is being restored to its original condition. Memorabilia such as antique fire equipment and photographs will be housed inside.

The rehabilitation project is expected to be completed in the spring.

The siren is operational, but some cosmetic work needs to be completed before the city can put it back atop the fire station.

It is unclear how, or if, the siren will be used once it is restored.

Its former job in the early 1900s was to call the volunteer fire department.

"We found out that that thing is 95 years old, and this was like the pager of 1915," E Clampus Vitus member Ryan Moore said.

E Clampus Vitus is a historical society that has roots in the mining days of the mid-1800s. After re-forming in 1931, the organization has grown to 40 chapters in California, Nevada and Arizona.

The group has been putting plaques on historical monuments that would otherwise be forgotten.

"It's always obscure stuff," Pattison said. "It's stuff that would be forgotten except the Clampers make sure you don't forget it."

Upland Fire Department members have been working to restore the city's first fire engine, which will be on display in the station.

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