Below is text from “Chapter Three – Activities Along the River” of Bridges To My Maturity,  Delightful Memories of What It was Like to be a Young Lad in the 1920s Along the Choptank River on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, by George W. Swartz.

Digitized, edited, and prepared for re-publication by CCHS volunteers Dave Ellis and Don Barker.

See all of our republished stories by George Schwartz about West Denton here.

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Life in West Denton in the 1920s, on Choptank River, Caroline County, Maryland

Denton developed one of the best volunteer fire departments in Maryland, and was able to purchase the latest equipment and keep it updated. This was due in large measure to the support given to the annual Fireman’s Carnival, which was then the chief money raising activity. A minstrel and variety show also was held each year to help raise money for the Fire Department and I participated in the chorus of this show for several years.

I remember the first Seagrave fire engine purchased by the Denton Volunteer Fire Department, red with yellow trimmings and black lettering. It was followed by the purchase of other trucks every couple of years. The firemen used the lot on the river bank across from our house for practice and would usually hold their practices on Saturday afternoon. The suction hose from the pumper was lowered into the river and the fire fighting hoses were aimed at various points along the river. Here I made my first and only attempt at holding the end of a fire hose while it was emitting a stream of water at very high pressure.

The firemen gave me a try at it – actually it was sport to them to see a small boy try to hold it – but needless to say they didn’t turn it completely loose or it would have flipped me around like a kite in a strong wind had I been able to hold it at all. For youngsters, there is always a lot of excitement and fun around a pumping fire engine. I rather suspect that the firemen enjoyed the practice sessions also.

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