Explore Palm Springs: Fireman’s Fish Fry

Tradition continues today to show support for local firefighters

The Palm Springs Fireman's Fish Fry from June 1960.

Photo Courtesy of Palm Springs Historical Society


Local community involvement and support historically has been the oil that greases the wheels of Palm Springs’ emergency services.

Concerned business owners purchased the first handcart in 1921. It relied on manpower to get the water tank on wheels to the spot where it was needed.

On April 24, 1928, the first fire chief, Otto Adler, installed an electric siren on a pole in the downtown area between his hotel, the Hotel La Palma, and Bunker’s Garage, so that the dozen or so volunteer firemen were alerted when they were needed.

The Palm Springs Fire Department was established in 1931 when the Chamber of Commerce raised $500 for a down payment on the town’s first fire truck. The American LaFrance “Red Devil” could reach to the fires sooner than the hand cart, and it also included ladders and hoses that before had to be hauled separately to the fire scene.

The inaugural Palm Springs Fireman’s Fish Fry was held in June of 1931 in support of the newly established fire department.

In 1961, the Palm Springs Fireman’s Foundation was founded and they took over the planning and hosting of the event. Each year after the tourists retreat, the locals still celebrate in the park and raise money to support the local firemen.

On June 7, 2014, the 83rd annual Fish Fry was held and one more time it brought out the local community in droves to support the efforts of local firefighters.

There is a multitude of ways to learn more about Palm Springs, which turned 75 in 2013. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.

The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a weekly story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. For more information, visit www.pshistoricalsociety.org

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