From the Alexandria Library Special Collections, Glasgow Photograph Collection #26. This is Reliance Company #5's favorite horse in 1910.
Some interesting tidbits from an article "Fire Horse's Life" in the Washington Evening Star, September 19, 1896, p. 1.
- The District of Columbia had 84 fire horses in 1896. Their average price was $225; the maximum allowed purchase price per horse was $233.
- Black horses were not desireable, "being ordinarily too fiery and excitable."
- The D.C. horses were 3-7 years old, between 16 and 16.3 hands high, "and above all, intelligent." It usually only took two or three days on trial for firemen to know whether the horse was smart enough to be a fire horse or not.
- Horses were trained to move quickly forward out of their stall (the electric current sounding the gong for the fire alarm also released the horses' tie-straps) when they heard the gong and stand by the pole under the hanging harness. The D.C. department could get their engine into the street within seven seconds of the gong.
- Horses usually worked around four years for the fire department, then were retired and given light work at the almshouse, or occasionally sold at auction. D.C. Fire Chief Parris made sure that those sold went to good homes, and in particular made sure that none of them "ever sunk to the degradation of hauling street cars."
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