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Volunteer Hose Company
of Middletown
27 W. Green St.
Middletown, DE 19709

Main Phone: 302-378-7799


"The History of The world is written in ships"

And, a paragraph of this history may be allotted to the famous yacht "Volunteer". She was the first steel sloop built in America and the fastest yacht ever designed by Edward Burgess. Length over all 106 feet 3 inches; draft 10 feet; racing measurements 86.35 feet. Her racing record for the season of 1887 was an unbroken list of victories. She took the Golet Cup from the "Mayflower", "Puritan", "Priscilla", and from the "Atlantic", the Morgan Cup, the Boston Herald Cup and the Providence and Newport Citizen Cup. In her famous race the "Thistle", the "Volunteer" allowed her rival 6 seconds and won by 11 minutes 48 seconds.

The "Volunteer" was built in 1887 in the remarkable short time of 66 days, by one of America's oldest shipbuilding organizations, the Pusey and Jones Corporation, Wilmington, Delaware.

The "Volunteer" is still known as one of the greatest ships of all time. It represented a new innovation in design, and combined the best features of both English and America boat building. As a result, the "Volunteer" was a narrow, almost streamlined vessel, with a steel center-board and curved "rocker-type" keel. In addition to the heavier ballast, she carried more canvas than any other racing ship had at that time. She was so sparred and canvassed that she could take advantage of the slightest wind.

Volunteer Hose Company, Inc., Middletown, Delaware was not named because it was and is a volunteer organization. Rather it was named after the yacht "Volunteer".

On September 30, 1887, a number of Citizens of Middletown met in the building, which in now the Henry D. Howell Store to form a fire Company, but could not agree upon a name for the Company, so a recess was declared. Now on that day, in 1887, the International Yacht races were held, and over the nation intense national interest centered on the outcome. The American yacht "Volunteer" was pitted against a British yacht "Thistle". In those days, no radio existed to flash the news, so on the group forming the new fire company journeyed to the local railroad station to learn, if possible the results of the race. While he was there, news as received over the telegraph that "Volunteer" has run and won the race, and that America retained her yachting supremacy. He returned to the meeting, announced the victory of the "Volunteer" and amid the enthusiasm thus evoke, it was decided to name our fire company, "Volunteer", after the famous yacht.

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