It only took one organized meeting of 21 area residents on April 29, 1942, to lay the groundwork that would create a small group of volunteer responders in the town of Elkridge, a proud community nestled in the Patapsco River valley in Howard County. By Feb. 15, 1943, in a newly-constructed home on Old Washington Road, Station 1 - the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department - was fully incorporated, under the command of Chief Edward Falter.
The Elkridge V.F.D. became the town's unofficial social hub, where friends and family gathered to chat, play Bingo or celebrate a wedding, and where young and old volunteers hustled to respond to the station for a call. The town's first fire engine was a 1934 Brockway named "Daisy."
Elkridge has grown dramatically over the last 75 years and with newer, bigger trucks, the department has outgrown their firehouse. This week saw the final call from the Washington Road station. Today's dedication of the new, seven-acre station off Montgomery Road is where volunteers will now share space with career firefighters.
"It's gonna hurt driving past this fire house, but it's time" says volunteer John Merson as he packs away merchandise for the move, while a light snow falls in the twilight. The native Elkridge resident first volunteered in 1986 and is the third generation of his family, who have served the community every day since it first opened. "It's gonna hurt seeing it go, but it has to go. We've outgrown this place."