This aerial photo, cropped from the digitalized collection in the archives of the State of Connecticut, is a fascinating look at Mt. Carmel in 1934.
The Mt. Carmel firehouse, with its signature hip roof, is clearly visible. The building at the corner of Ives and Whitney still stands, although a rear annex that fronted on Ives Street is long gone. That annex served as the original quarters for the Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Company until the present firehouse was completed in early 1926.
The Ives house at 3011 Whitney Avenue, just north of the fire station, had no electricity or indoor plumbing. It was occupied until it was razed in 1952. The Mt. Carmel School on Woodruff Street, built in 1921, received three major additions. A gymnasium and kindergarten were added in 1939, six classrooms and a new cafewteria in 1954, and several more classrooms in 1963. The school closed in 1973 and was razed eight years later for the construction of an assisted living complex.
James W. Strain served as Co. 5's third captain, from 1934 to 1936. His father, James H. Strain, the first captain of the company, served from 1911 until 1928. Jean Strain, daughter of James W. Strain, recently donated this Co. 5 captain's badge to the archives of the Hamden Fire Retirees' Association.
Jean was not sure whether the badge was her father's or her grandfather's - perhaps both. If it was originally the elder Strain's badge, then it is probably more than a century old. Further photographic research may answer the question. We'll keep everyone posted.
May 1, 2011 - A very good day for America! - - - Always remember the FDNY 343.