Lakeside's History

By 1947, the area around Mombasha Lake was still very rural. There were several large dairy farms. Chet Faber had a barn on the corner of Berry Road and West Mombasha Road, and Andy Faber had a farm where Horizon Heights and Sterling Manor are now. Camps and hotels dotted the east side of the lake, and while there were numerous summer homes, only about ten families actually lived in the area year-round.


It was back in 1947 when several friends, who regularly gathered at the lakeside inn known as Bezdek's (later Hartmann's, and later still as Mombasha Inn) became increasingly concerned with fire protection in the southern tip of Monroe. In particular, these friends noticed the winding and unpaved roads, recognized the risks, and subsequently decided to form a fire company.


Originally, this new fire company was inaugurated as the Lake Mombasha Fire Company. But later, to avoid being confused with the already-existing Mombasha Fire Company, the name was changed to Lakeside Fire Company. In June of 1991, the company decided to take on its current name - the Monroe-Lakeside Fire and Rescue Company, as a more accurate reflection of the region it serves.


The original 1947 slate of officers for the new fire company included Harry Bonser, Ken Lewis, Geoge Kup, Jr., Bernard Judson, and Ernest Kloiber. Some of the earliest members included Chet Faber, Al Berninger, Irwin "Fatso" Clark, Carl Sisco, Fritz Kraft, Johnny Buhler, Jim Ebner, Bob Weiland, Alex Smith, John Clausen, Frank Fischer, Sr., August "Gus" Uehling, Jack Stevens, and Andy Faber. To obtain funding for the new company, these men organized a series of three annual picnics, the first being held on the property of "Pop" Fischer.


Because the region was not highly populated, most of the early fires were barn fires or brush fires. But these blazes we still extremely dangerous, and required appropriate equipment. The newly formed company purchased its first fire truck from the Mombasha Fire Company - a 1923 Mack. This original piece of fire apparatus, old-timers fondly recall, had no roof, required a crank for the siren, and could easily be outrun on foot. No matter. Al Berninger, who was the fire chief all through the 1950s, kept the fire truck at his service station garage (now a restaurant) until the present firehouse was constructed in the 1970s.


Today, Lakeside has grown into a modern and well-equipped company with members trained in fire suppression, emergency medical care, and rescue. The company is a member of Battallion 5 and is part of the Monroe Joint Fire District, serving residents of the Town and Village of Monroe, like it always has.