Cisterns Furnished Water Supply in Years Past

A reliable source of water is a necessity for a fire company to successfully fight fires.  The source should be conveniently located with an abundant supply of water available for use at all times.  With this in mind, the residents of Bird-in-Hand met in a public meeting with the intent of raising money to build cisterns.  A total of $500 was pledged at the meeting to construct two cisterns, each with a capacity of 13,500 gallons.

They were built in 1946 for the total cost of $1,684.46.  One was located at 2695 Old Philadelphia Pike near the junction of Maple Avenue on land deeded to the Fire Company by Clarence Bitzer of Bitzers Hotel.  The second one was located at 2644 Old Philadelphia Pike in front of the old 1922 fire hall and across the road from the present fire hall.  Witmer, Lafayette, and Strasburg Fire Companies helped fill the cisterns by relay from the Mill Creek in December 1946.  

These cisterns are no longer in use today, because they lack suffient volume to fight large, modern-day fires.    In addition, four of today's large tankers can bring the entire contents of a cistern to the fire.  The designated fill sites are the lake on the grounds of the Bird-in-Hand Restaurant and Family Inn, the reservoir behind the Business Center on Beechdale Road, and some of the local streams.  

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