Sunday, October 12, 2014


Photo by Maret

As I looked through some of my Great Grandfather’s, Abe Gunzendorfer, photos today, I came across a few which are important to the history of the Monterey Fire Department.  As I learned from Abe’s obituary, “in 1891, he organized the first hook and ladder company in Monterey and was later made a member for life of the Monterey fire department, an honor of which he was very proud.”  [Monterey Peninsula Herald, May 4, 1944].  What a great honor – I can imagine he was proud!

On March 4, 1915, a twenty fifth anniversary celebration was held and Abe took a photo to commemorate the day.

Monterey Fire Dept 25 anniversary 3_4_1915

I just love that he wrote on the back of the photo so I knew what the the event was!

Monterey Fire Dept back

I think it says that A.B. Gunzendorfer (Abe) and M.S. Perry fostered and managed the celebration.  Fostered?  Is that right?

A few things to note in the picture.

Monterey Fire Dept 25 anniversary 3_4_1915 Gunzendorfer Parker

The flag on the wall is backwards.  Is that because of the film?  The flags to the left on poles seem to be correct.

William E. Parker is circled in green.  I’m pretty sure that’s Ferdinand Gunzendorfer (my 2nd great grandfather, Abe’s father) circled in lavender.  What do you think?

Monterey Fire Dept 25 anniversary Gunzendorfer Gunzendorfer Ferdinand cropped
Close up of photo above
Ferdinand Gunzendorfer

The Monterey Fire Department began serving the citizens of Monterey in 1882 when the first brigade was established by a group of citizens.  William E. Parker, born January 17 1865, joined the fire department in 1888 in Hose Company No. 1.  On March 4, 1890, he was named chief of the department – so the anniversary celebration was held exactly 25 years later.  Chief Parker was recognized as the nation’s longest actively serving chief with 52 years of service [Monterey Fire Department, by Mike Ventimiglia] – he didn’t retire until 1942!

The July 7, 1892 edition of the Monterey New Era reported…
At a meeting of the fire department Sunday night, to make final arrangements for a parade, Chief W.E. Parker was treated to a most enjoyable surprise.  A.B. Gunzendorfer, foreman of the Monterey Hook and Ladder company No. 1, presented him, on behalf of the fire department, with a beautiful silver trumpet of the most elegant design.

I sure would love to see that trumpet!

And here’s a fun photo that Abe took.

Juvenile Fire Engine
Conquer we Must.  Our Cause is Just.
J.D. Brower’s Juvenile Fire Engine Co. No. 36
A.B. Gunzendorfer, Photographer, Monterey, Cal.

Who knew the Monterey Fire Department would be so important in my family?


  1. My blog from Oct 5 has a photo with a flag displayed the same way.

    What a fine group photo -- you can actually see the faces and no one seems to be blocked by a neighbor.

  2. I wonder if the film was printed in reverse, which would show the flag with the pole on the "wrong" side. The group photo is so clear. I wonder if a professional photographer took it. It's more of a treasure because your great-grandfather wrote on the back. (Doesn't he have nice handwriting?)