The Early Days

Maverick Fire Station Maverick Hose Company
Finally, some of the men decided to reorganize, and they were then incorporated under the laws of the State of Montana and renamed the Maverick Hose Company. Their equipment consisted of three hose carts. The fire alarm bell went to the Mavericks and was installed in a tower in Fire Station No. One, located at First Avenue and 28th Street. By this time, Billings had installed some water mains, giving the town a more reliable water supply, and it was agreed that the firemen would receive $1.00 for each fast response.

The Maverick Hose Company proved to be one of the most colorful organizations in Billings. "Maverick" was adopted as a sign of their new independence, "bearing no one’s mark, not even the mayor’s".

New members were taken in only after a thorough investigation, election, and initiation. The roster of that illustrious group included many leading citizens, and they performed an unforgettable service without remuneration of any kind. In fact, these volunteers paid an initiation fee and dues for the privilege of fighting fires. These fees, dues, and the fines assessed members who failed to respond to an alarm were used to purchase equipment and operate the fire department. And, the Mavericks had a lot of fun.

According to an article from the Gazette, "As social affairs, the meetings of the Maverick Company were a huge success. Initiations were ordeals that had those of any fraternal organization cheated. Beer drinking was an integral part of most gatherings and grateful businessmen were always ready to "set them up" liberally each time the Mavericks had proven their merit with hook and ladder and hose."
Station No. One was located at First Avenue and North 28th Street, and housed two wheeled hose carts that were pulled by hand. Late in 1894, the first team of horses was purchased, and the first paid man, John Hostler, was employed to train them. "Old-timers" probably still remember the names of each team of horses - Tom and Jerry, Rock and Rye, and Jeff and Denver.