History

As early as 1923, there was interest in establishing an ambulance corps to serve the northern part of Bergen County. In January 1923, Bergen County Under Sheriff George P. Nimmo (an Allendale resident) proposed the purchase of an ambulance to serve the towns of Ramsey, Allendale, Waldwick, and the Saddle River Valley. In a letter to the Allendale Borough Council, he proposed that the ambulance be "stationed in the fire house in Allendale and telephone connections made with adjoining municipalities so that they might avail themselves of the services of such."
Pictured: Allendale Ambulance Corps first ambulance, a 1926 Reo
 Apparently no action was taken on his proposal, for it was not until fifteen years later, in 1937, that an Ambulance Corps was organized in Allendale.

In May 1937, Dr. F. R. Kanning arranged, through the Hackensack Hospital, for the delivery of a used ambulance (a 1926 Reo) to be used by Allendale's newly forming volunteer Allendale Ambulance Corps. The ambulance was purchased from the hospital for $1 and was delivered on June 10, 1937.  

John P. Doehling, chairman of the Committee of Public Safety, called a meeting on June 30 for Allendale men interested in operating and maintaining the vehicle. Present at that first meeting were: 

Archie Farrell ~ Nelson White ~ Paul O'Connor ~ Cyril Dargue ~ Gus Sohne ~ Harold Heidrich                  John L. Winters ~ James Kievit ~ John P. Doehling ~ Henry Kahse ~ Fred Van Horn ~ Lyman Ceely ~ Jacob Kaplan        Carl Wehner ~ George Wilson (who acted as secretary)

With an advisory board consisting of Dr. F. R. Kanning and Dr. Harry Lampa (both of Allendale) and Dr. James Campbell (of Ramsey), the name of the Allendale Ambulance Corps was approved. 

The following officers were elected: 
Carl Wehner, President 
Nelson White, Vice-President 
Henry Kahse, Secretary-Treasurer 
D. O'Connor, Captain

Many of the first men in the Ambulance Corps had been members of the Fire Department's First Aid Squad. Allendale's Ambulance Corps was the first in northwest Bergen County.

The by-laws were approved and fees were set for transporting non-residents to hospitals (residents were granted local use of the ambulance free of charge). Captain Paul O'Connor held first aid classes for the volunteers, who purchased their own uniforms, and the Corps joined the New Jersey State First Aid Council.

From August 1, 1937 to January 1, 1938 the new Ambulance Corps answered about 21 calls. In its early years, the corps served the towns of Allendale, Waldwick, Ramsey, Franklin Lakes, Saddle River,Upper Saddle River, Ho-Ho-Kus, and the area of Route 2 (later Route 17) from Route 4 north to the New York State line.

By 1939, two Lieutenants had been appointed to assist Captain Paul O'Connor. They were Nelson White and William Strangfeld, who was an American Red Cross instructor. 

The advisory board included doctors Kanning, Campbell & Lampa, Dr. Harry Archer (of the New York City Fire Department), Dr. Selig J. Ross (of Allendale), Dr. Vernon Hawes (of Ramsey), Dr. S. E. Robinson (of Waldwick)

Additional members of the board were: 

Allendale Councilmen Lyman Ceely and George Albert
President Carl Wehner,
 Vice-President Nelson White
Secretary F. A. Farrell 
Treasurer Charles Bijou
Lieutenant William Strangfeld     

Additional Corps members in 1939 were:    

Harold Ryan ~ Henry Kahse ~ Jacob Kaplan ~ James Kievit ~ George Price ~ Walter Christie ~ J. Winters ~ Gus Sohne ~ Lawrence Scafuro ~ Harold Kiermaier

By 1939 the need to replace the original ambulance (that 1926 Reo that had, by 1939, more than 85,000 miles on it) became apparent, and with it, the need for a building to house the ambulance. Funds to purchase a new ambulance were raised through various civic groups and Corps-sponsored card parties, carnivals, and through private donations.  

In October 1939, a dedication service for the new ambulance was held at the Allendale Recreation park, with Dr. Harry Archer, honorary medical officer of the New York City Fire Department as the keynote speaker.  Dr. Archer had been of invaluable assistance in advising the Corps in the selection of the new ambulance. 

One year later, on October 20, 1940, dedication ceremonies were held for the newly-built Ambulance Corps Building located near the Fire House.  Speakers at this ceremony included former Mayor of Allendale Kenneth Fisher (under whose administration the Corps was formed), George Christopher (chairman of the building committee), and the Corps president Carl T. Wehner.
Other members of the Allendale Ambulance corps in the early 1940s included Kenneth Booth, Thomas Brady, J. George Christopher, Edwin Grosman, Alwyn Grossmann, Harold Kiermeier, and Walter Rumsey.
Excerpted from thefellhouse.org

 

             Pictured above:  AVAC Members circa 1959

                                                                          Pictured above: Allendale Avenue circa 1937 looking west