About this series: We at Fenton Patch believe everyone has a story to tell, and we believe that many Fenton residents have some heroism inside them, not by saving the world, but by the way they handle the little things in life. That is why, each month, we take an inside look at a Fenton resident's life and find out what makes that person tick. If you would like to nominate someone to be a Hometown Hero, contact Fenton Patch Editor Jason Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Ed Hadfield first starting asking questions about the history of the Fenton Fire Department in 1999, he found people could spew facts but no dates.
So he and his wife, Vicki, went on a quest to find those answers themselves.
They invaded the A.J. Phillips Fenton Museum in search of any documents, pictures or notes they could come up with.
“They were only open Sundays, so my wife and I spent months and months of Sundays digging through boxes,” Hadfield said.
The Hadfields were able to find so many answers, they created a book with a complete history of the fire department.
“We knew the 125th anniversary of the department was coming up,” Hadfield said. “We wanted to do something to celebrate that history.”
Fenton historians had believed the clock on the old Fenton fire hall, at 201 S. LeRoy St., had been the one from the original hall from 1875. However, Hadfield was able to prove it wasn’t.
Don’t believe him? We’ll, he’s seen the receipt and the year 1937 that is engraved on the clock.
“There was really only one company that made those clocks, and I found a name and a number of a guy who had the records,” Hadfield said. “I asked him if he knew anything about the Fenton clock. He called back a few days later with the purchase agreement in hand.”
Hadfield even used to climb the ladder to replace damaged clock hands.
Fenton Fire Department Assistant Chief Charles Koan has worked with Hadfield for nearly 30 years.
“There are seven or eight of us who share a lot of history with the younger generation,” he said. “Ed’s a good guy. He’s come up through the ranks and he’s very informed.”
Hadfield has always been a history buff and often rides his bike through town admiring old houses and structures.
He was even able to identify the location of symbol in contest about three minutes after it was posted.
“There are a lot of cool buildings,” Hadfield said. “I like the houses along Shiawassee and Main streets.”
Hadfield said the fire department once had to respond to a fire at perhaps the oldest house in Fenton, belonging to Ken and Donna Seeger of the Fenton Historical Society.
“There was a lightning strike,” Hadfield said. “They had a lot of documents in there. A lot could have been lost.”
Hadfield said he takes a lot of pride in Fenton's history.
“A lot of families have been here for a long time,” Hadfield said. “Generations and generations have been in the community for a long time.”
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