Larkspur Association of Volunteer Firemen
The Larkspur Association of Volunteer Firemen has had a long and proud history since its formation in 1906. In the beginning, the only equipment the volunteers had consisted of a hose cart and a bucket brigade, but no firehouse.
By 1910, the volunteers had grown to 24 strong and had acquired 500 feet of hose for the original cart but were still without a firehouse.
Larkspur's early booster days were designed to promote Larkspur and raise money for fighting fires. They had carnivals and contests for fundraisers. In 1910, a dance was staged across from the Blue Rock Hotel, with a band perched on a platform in a tree. This platform had wild roses climbing up walls of chicken wire.
That dance, and subsequent dances, were so financially and socially successful that in 1913, firefighters not only had the money to build their first firehouse behind City Hall, but also had enough money to purchase a half-acre redwood grove on Cane Street for a permanent dance site to be named the Rose Bowl.
These dances brought in about $75,000 a year and eventually would pay for hydrants, a fire alarm system, and their first motorized apparatus, a 1916 Ford Model T two-tank chemical car, purchased in 1916.
The Larkspur Volunteer Fire Department came into its own during the 1920s and 1930s when it was the most prestigious organization in town and the social and political arbitrator of civic affairs. Membership as one of the 22 regulars was a tightly guarded privilege.
By 1947, they completely financed the $500,000 Fire Department. In 1957, the volunteers turned over the one-half million dollars in equipment to the city.
The Rose Bowl continued to fund the volunteer association until 1963 when the dances were discontinued and the property was eventually sold off.
The Department Today
The volunteers still flourish today and offer support to a paid professional staff of 17 members and are an integral part of the Larkspur Fire Department.