Allison Hook & Ladder #2 | 315 S. 14th St. | Harrisburg, PA 17104

Allison History

The rich history of the Allison has been captured by Harrisburg Bureau of Fire Historian and Author Dave Houseal. We are proud to announce that Dave has joined the Allison and was voted by the Company to become the Allison Historian. For those interested in more Allison lore, a link to Dave’s 1993 in depth article is at the conclusion of the this article.


“We Kick For Our Rights”

During the early 1900’s, the Allison Hill of Harrisburg was experiencing a boom in new building, businesses and population.  On October 19, 1905, a group of concerned citizens met and organized the Allison Hook and Ladder Company No. 2.  Within the next three years, the trustees purchased a lot (72’ x 151’) on S. 14th St., acquired city recognition with an old hose wagon, occupied the Wallis Livery Stable near 13th and Haenhlen and given the Number 12 in the HFD.

During May, 1908 the brick stable section was built on the rear of the 14th Street lot and the company moved in.  Within a year the much larger front section of the two story brick firehouse was completed and dedicated May 16, 1909.  Total cost of the building and lot was just over $16,000.

For the next half century the company ran a two-piece hose and chemical wagon and ladder truck with Allison Hill its primary district.  The large volunteer membership was very active in department and community affairs.

From the 1930s until its closing in 1980, the Allison firehouse was used intermittently as a fire headquarters, fire training academy and home to IAFF Local 428.  From 1927 until they disbanded in 1962, the Citizen No. 3 was assigned to the Allison firehouse as their final.  Other apparatus moved into the Allison were: the Susquehanna No. 9 [1969-1970], and Royal No. 14 [1971-1980], Tower 1[1975-1980].

Like most of the active volunteer companies of the Harrisburg Fire Dept, the Allison Hook & Ladder began a decline in activity through the 1950’s and by the end of the 60’s was no longer represented on the fire ground.  Only career men of the Fire Bureau now operated the apparatus from the S. 14th St. quarters.  On March 31, 1980 the firehouse was closed permanently with the major consolidation of apparatus into newly opened Station 2.  The now vacant firehouse reverted back to the Allison company due to an agreement made in 1907 with the city over the original lot.  For decades, the windows were covered in plywood and the apparatus room used for storage.

In 2008, the handful of Allison members remaining voted to transfer the firehouse to city firefighter Jason Lloyd.  Mr. Lloyd had previously purchased the last Allison ladder truck from a fire buff in Michigan and desired to bring it back home.    Since then Jason and solid core of dedicated friends and family have painstakingly restored the old house.  At the same time, several deeply interested individuals working with the remaining aging Allison members, quietly reorganized the Allison Hook & Ladder No. 2 to the point of being recognized again by the Fire Chief as an active volunteer unit of the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire in August of 2019.

Apparatus assigned to the Allison Hook & Ladder No. 2

[1907-1908]Used 1884 hose wagon built by Boyer & Atticks ex-Citizen No. 3

[1908-1917]New two horse hose and chemical wagon, built by J.G. Weir,

[1909-1917]Used two horse 1884 Hayes 65′ aerial ladder truck ex-Mt. Vernon H & L

[1917-1923]New Reo-Boyd Bros hose and chemical wagon

[1917-1935]New Duplex-Peter Pirsch city service ladder truck

[1923-1936]Used 1914 American LaFrance hose and chemical wagon ex-Goodwill No. 7

[1930-1940]New-company owned 1930 International canteen truck

[1935-1958]New Mack 75’ tractor drawn aerial ladder truck

[1936-1959]New Reo-HFD shop hose and chemical wagon

[1957-1975]New Mack 85’ tractor drawn aerial ladder truck


Allison Members Making the Supreme Sacrifice 

May 13, 1908, Fireman Eli K. Hoffman electrocuted at fire on S. 18th St.

August 15, 1909 Fireman William H Benner, fell from scaffolding while scraping paint in fire house, suffering a closed head injury. He was hospitalize for one week prior to his death.

November 21, 1912, Driver Samuel Wanbaugh thrown from front seat of the wagon at 15th & Market

November 26, 1922, Fireman Daniel P. Huber, inhaled super heated gases while trapped at a general alarm fire at 14th & Howard.

More Allison History