Who You Gonna Call? The Fire Boxes of Carleton Place

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firebox

Fire Alarm Boxes–where are they now? In the old days, with wooden houses built close together, and lit by whale oil or gas jets, the threat of fire was constant and very great. Thus, the fire department as well as the police department had boxes. Police boxes were colored blue, and fire alarm boxes colored red and both operated similarly, via telegraphy, before the public phone system was thought sufficiently reliable to entrust with life-and-death matters. A citizen broke the glass cover and pulled a little hook, which telegraphed the box location to the authorities.

The installation apparently began in in the 1880s. At the time, few people had telephones, and many fires were reported by children or neighbors that ran to the fire station to report a fire. The system was seen as a great step forward in bringing safety and security to all citizens. The alarm transmitter consisted of copper wire mounted in a glass case with a nickel frame, which received calls from public alarm boxes and relayed them via telegraph lines to the nearest fire station. This informed the station manager exactly which alarm box had been rung — but did not provide any information on the nature of the emergency.

1976

1976

Photo taken from the Carleton Place Directory 1930’s- courtesy of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage

Museum

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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