On December 15, 1887, Jacob E. Burge of Hanover Road called a meeting to organize a fire company. At this meeting twenty-one charter members organized the "Afton Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1. When this organization was formed we were still part of Chatham Township and the local cross roads village was called Afton. By-Laws were developed and adopted on December 29, 1887. The second Monday of each month was set as the Meeting night. Co. #1 meetings are still conducted on this date. The meetings were conducted in "Lanning Hall" (now Florham Park Elk's Club) until July 11, 1898 and the "Broom Factory" on the corner of Ridgedale Avenue and Brooklake Road (a bank is now located on this corner). What is now known as Florham Park was in those early days' was essentially two estates with a sprinkling of farms in between.
Dr. Leslie D. Ward had a huge acreage to the east, extending outward from the present-day Brooklake Country Club. The Florence and Hamilton McKay Twombly's estate was to the west (now the site of Fairleigh Dickinson University and the Exxon property, former home of Exxon Research and Engineering).
The Wards and Twomblys were early benefactors. Dr. Ward donated land and underwrote the building of a "truck house," which the firemen built themselves. The "Truck House" was completed in September or October 1898. The structure according to the minutes was to be 20' by 30' with 18' posts, a five foot leeway would be allowed. The first meeting in their own building was held on October 10, 1898 and was presided over by Jacob Burge, the first Chief. This building, now vacant was once the, Town Garage, Firehouse, Florham Park Library and presently used for town storage. It will be moved from the present Ridgedale Avenue site and placed next to the present Fire Headquarters on Brooklake Road. It will become the Florham Park Fire Museum.
Mr. Twombly donated a two-horse hook and ladder truck, purchased second-hand from Madison in 1898 for $150.00. The truck was equipped with "hand tongues" useful in towing the vehicles to the fire if horses were not available. The bell in the Little Red School House and a locomotive wheel rim, when hit with a hammer it summon firemen from the shops and fields.
Horses were usually available, supplied by William Parkhurst and George Felch for $3.00 per run. Firemen used their own funds to buy a horse whip to spur on the Parkhurst-Felch horses and two blankets to warm the horses when the run was over.