Company History


Back in the 1600s the Delaware River, which was purchased from the Indians, was the main route of travel in this area. Back then Wilmington and New Castle were the only two towns. Once they became over crowded residents started branching out. Thus creating places like Delaware City, Newport and Newark.

The town of Newport was given it's name because it was "New" and it was along the water. This gave them the possibility for a Port. It was in this new little town that Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Cranston called home. They not only lived there, but also owned a few businesses such as lumber yards, docks, shipping facilities and fertilizer plants. Not to mention the total of at least five homes. One of the homes was a brick mansion where Roselawn Avenue now stands.

Another gentleman by the name of Darlington Flinn owned alot of what is now Prices Corner. Such property as the old workhouse off of Newport Gap Pike and the land that Acme now sits on.

The Cranstons, who became land poor, started selling off some of their land. Places that are now known as Cranston Avenue, Lincoln Avenue, Roselawn Avenue, and Clayton Avenue in the Cranston Heights development. Back then the land sold in lots of 100 X 50 for a total of $700 each. Customers made payments of $5.00 a month.

The development of Cranston Heights Fire Company can be traced back to five key men. George Fountain arrived in the area on a DuPont ship known as "The Eagle." Mr. Fountain came with the dream of making the community a better place by adding sewers and street lights. James Greenwood, originally from Philadelphia, came to the area to work for DuPont in the powder mills. Robert S. Croes was a City of Wilmington volunteer firefighter. And George McConnell, with his brother-in-law Mr. Lutz who was the Chief of the Wilmington Fire Department.

The gentlemen started the first plans for the firehouse while at gatherings held at Mr. Fountain's clubhouse. Mr. Fountain would go on to become the first president of Cranston Heights Fire Company. He would later prove to be untrustworthy and be kicked out for stealing firehouse funds. It was in this clubhouse that Mr. Greenwood was put in charge of the funds for the firehouse. He also would go on to become president. Mr. Croes, the chairman of the committee, became the first Chief of Cranston Heights due to his knowledge and experience in the fire service. A position he would hold for 25 years.

Due to Mr. Fountain's behavior the meetings were movied to Mr. Croes' barn. In 1920 the first Ford fire engine was delivered in a green color that was repainted red. They would go on to purchase land on Seminole Avenue, but continue to house the fire truck in Mr. Croes' barn. Cranston Heights became the first fire company started outside of a rural town. In 1920 the 1st Ladies Auxiliary of New Castle County was created by Cranston Heights to aide Mrs. Croes.

In 1922 a bell tower was added onto the barn to worn everyone of a fire. Mrs. Croes usually came out to ring the bell herself. Especially since it was right next door to their house and nobody but the wealthy had telephones.


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