East Side History Madison’s Blog

By and for the East Side History Club, a project of the Goodman Community Center

“Firefighting on Madison’s East Side” brought out the stories

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on September 19, 2011

Old Fire Station #3, 1217 Williamson, Built 1902, photographed just before removal in 1954.

New station #3 at1217 Williamson, photographed in 1965.

Mike Fuss, who presented to our group on “Firefighting on Madison’s East Side” grew up on Dahle Street a few blocks from Fire Station No. 8 on North St. He spent his childhood “chasing fires” and collecting toy fire trucks and “firemen” figures.

Mike joined the Madison Fire Department in 1969 and began to collect fire fighting memorabilia, fire-fighting gear and full-size fire trucks, especially those items related to the history of the Madison Fire Department. His interest became so apparent that the Madison Fire Department named him its official historian.

He co-authored a book in 1992 on the history of the Madison Fire Department titled Capitol City Courage (which is in the Madison Public Library with the call number: 352.30977583 C172c ) and started publishing a newsletter and hosting get-togethers for retired firefighters. He retired from the Fire Department in 2000.

When he learned that the Fire Department was going to sell Fire Station No. 8 on North Street after the crew moved into  new fire station on Lien Road and Parkside Drive near EastTowne Mall, he put in a bid of $41,000 to buy the building, proposing to live upstairs and convert the first floor into the Madison Firefighting Museum.

His dream came true in 1900.  He now lives in the Clyde “Bud” Chamberlain Memorial Building and Firefighting Museum, honoring his uncle who was the Dane Co. coroner killed in the City-County Building in 1988.

If you are seriously interested in seeing his collection and talking to him about the Madison Fire Department you can contact him at 244-6732.


Police and firemen exhibit their prowess at the Police and Fire Show, 4th of July, 1948.

“This show didn’t just happen, be sure of this: It was the result of much planning, a great deal of thought and ceaseless effort on the part of every member of the Police and Fire Departments. For each man you see performing here tonight, there are many behind the  scenes. All of them put in hours of planning and rehearsing on their own time to perfect their performance. Not enough praise can be given these men. We cannot even mention their names as we haven’t enough space.” –Lee A. Baron, Chairman, Jaycee Police and Fire Show

Madison Junior Chamber of Commerce sponsored the Police and Fire Show on the 4th of July, 1948 in Breese Stevens Field.

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