James Street Firehouse
The site of the James Street firehouse was originally the Methodist Church. A new Church was built on Main Street and the original church was moved by horse drawn power to River Road in Califon where it stands today. In 1939, a 99 year lease was signed between the firehouse and church and a 30 x 60 foot firehouse was constructed. Credited with the construction were three members: Mr. Neff, Mr. Van Swick and Mr. Coughlin.
A visit by an insurance inspector resulted in a two horsepower electric siren to be placed atop the firehouse. Electricity for the siren came from the Hildebrant Cider Mill as this was the only three phase power in town. Wires were ‘strung’ between the mill and firehouse.
For many years, the James Street firehouse was the only ‘large building’ within the township and was used for all kinds of activities including: Township Committee, Boy Scouts, YMCA, 4-H, town meetings.
Tewksbury Township asked if school classes could be held temporarily in the building until a new school was built [Sawmill School]. At one time, there was a plan to house the township offices and police department within the James Street firehouse. Eventually the township offices and police moved to Mountainville which became available with the opening of Sawmill School. In 1941, there was a discussion to house the county library in the James Street firehouse.
In 1955 a kitchen was added to the firehouse. As part of the renovation, bathrooms were also installed. The outhouse, which was built by the WPA was sold to a neighbor for $10.
Oldwick Road Firehouse [current]
Due to accelerated changes within Tewksbury Township with the opening of Interstate 78, there were additional demands to the Oldwick Fire Company including increased vehicle fires and accidents on the interstate and increased residential development. This required the fire company to change tactics and equipment including the purchase of a tender [2500 gallon] in 1990. The James Street firehouse was too small and the truck was temporarily housed in the Tewksbury Township James Street garage. The Oldwick Fire Company refurbished the garage/barn including heat, electricity and concrete floor.
Since that time the fire company was on the search for suitable property, near Oldwick, where the majority of the volunteer members lived. The Mormino family donated 12 acres north of Oldwick, but the property was unsuitable for a firehouse due to property restrictions and was sold. In 2003 the township purchased the Christy farm south of Oldwick and part of the plan was to site the firehouse on the north side of the farm.
The building was designed for both current and future firefighting and emergency service needs of the township and includes 4 double deep engine bays. Following the fire company’s strong fundraising tradition, a catering hall, the Oldwick Manor is located on the first floor.
The firehouse was built with firehouse funding and no public funds were used. The firehouse opened in 2007.