Guide to the Alert Hose Team Minute Book Collection (1882) – History

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The Alert Hose Company No. 1 was one of five hose companies and one hook and ladder company that served the City of Santa Cruz in the late 1870s -1890s. The Santa Cruz City Volunteer Fire Department was formed in 1877. Through 1888, it had had just fewer than one hundred active members. These men raced to local fires with hose cart in tow. They were renowned for their speed. In regional contests, the Alerts won the prestigious diamond belt for Santa Cruz twice, a record also held by Watsonville. In 1894 a fire destroyed many buildings on Pacific Avenue and Front Street. The City decided that the time had come for creating a paid fire department, and the Santa Cruz City Fire Department was established and the volunteer hose companies disbanded. The minute book describes the Alerts response to fires, noting locations, causes and damages, as well as general business between December 6, 1882 and March 14, 1888, and February 1, 1893.