History of the W.C.T.U.
From the Apollo News-Record, May 1916
The Women’s Christian Temperance Union was organized in 1874 under the leadership of Frances E. Willard.
Apollo responded to the forward movement in temperance reform by various organizations; the W.C.T.U., Temperance Alliance, Sons of Temperance, Band of Hope, etc..
The present W.C.T.U. of Apollo was organized in 1889 with Mrs. Mary J. Guthrie as president, which position she occupied until her death in December of 1913.
The W.C.T.U. has led the opposition to the repeal of the Prohibition Act governing Apollo to the operating of the “Original Package” Act at Apollo; and to the repeated efforts to establish a licensed house in Paulton and in West Apollo; and from the first up to the refusal of license in the March court of 1916, the Union has had a rare experience in reform work, in that they have never known defeat.
In 1909 the W.C.T.U. Building on North Second Street was planned and erected under the direction of the president, Mrs. M.J. Guthrie, to be used as headquarters for all W.C.T.U. work and to provide a suitable room for a public library, at an expenditure of $3,660. The building was erected by the Alcorn Lumber Company on North Seventh Street in Apollo. Six hundred dollars remaining unpaid (1916) will be met by six payments planned for the regular work of the Society.
The W.C.T.U. is doing great things for the world, in which the Apollo Union, as every other Union contribute their part.
The Apollo W.C.T.U. is composed of 234 active members, 71 in the young Women’s Branch, 185 Honorary members (men) and 223 in the children’s Branch; making over seven hundred persons enrolled on the books of the Apollo W.C.T.U..
Today the W.C.T.U. building, at 317 N. Second St. in Apollo, is the home of the Apollo Area Historical Society and Apollo Museum.
About the Bell and Apollo’s Volunteer Fire Department
The Diamond and Excelsior alarm bell in front of the W.C.T.U building, manufactured in 1890, was originally housed on the Apollo Borough Building, then located on South Second Street. It was used to alert firefighters who manned a Hook and Ladder Wagon equ1pped w1th leather buckets and ladders with large hooks. The 1889 Hook and Ladder Wagon currently is on display at the Firefighter’s Historical Museum in Erie, PA.
The Apollo Volunteer Fire Department, Hose Companies No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3. each has historical significance and a rich heritage in our local community. The History of Apollo Volunteer Fire Department, 1888-1969, documents that Hose Company No. 1 was organized in 1888 and protected the South end of town.
The Alarm Bell was manufactured in October, 1890, by McShane Bell Foundry, Baltimore. Maryland, which has been in business since 1856 and continues manufacturing bells today. McShane has been producing the finest bronze church bells, peals, ch1mes, carillons and band bells for more than 147 years.
The Diamond and Excelsior alarm bell is approximately 32″ at the base and 18″ at the top and is made of bell metal mixture, which consists of 80% copper and 20% tin. The cost of production m 1890 was 22 cents per pound and the we1ght is 605 pounds. The cost for manufacturing the bell in 2005 would be $14,094.
The inscription on the Alarm Bell is as follows:
Presented by the Ladies of Apollo
to Diamond and Excelsior Hose Co.
and Apollo Hook and Ladder Co.
Apollo, PA October 1890
McShane Bell Foundry, Baltimore, MD – 1890
Although Hose Company No. 1 disbanded in 1926, volunteer firefighters from Apollo Hose Companies No. 2 and No. 3 continue serving and protecting the community with dedication and commitment.