Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive

Chief Walter S. Moore

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Los Angeles Volunteer Department
April 1883 to March 1885

Los Angeles Fire Department
First Chief  Engineer  and  Fire Marshal

February 1, 1886 to September 26, 1887
February 1, 1891 to January 31, 1893
February 1, 1895 to March 31, 1900

Chief W. S. Moore, whose last term ended March 31, 1900, had been active in Fire Department affairs since 1875 serving three times as Chief of the paid Department.  He also was one time Chief of the Volunteers.  He also became President of the Pacific Coast Association of Fire Chiefs.  Chief Moore was born in Philadelphia and was a runner with Philadelphia Fire Company No. 18.

1899  14th ANNUAL REPORT

A Sketch of Walter S. Moore

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Source: Fred S. Allen Collection

    The mainspring in the creating and in the career of Los Angeles Engine Company No. 2 was undoubtedly Walter S. Moore.  He came here from Philadelphia about thirty years ago.  I do not know whether Walter had the benefit of the instructions of the Hon. Billy McMullen of that city, or of association with the Moyamensing engine boys, but certain it is that he reached here a full fledged fire laddie--one to "the manner born."  He ranked high from the start as a fireman, and when Los Angeles had progressed to the metropolitan status he was for years chief of the paid fire department.

    He might be filling that post of chief still if it were not for certain differences with the controlling authorities about the price, quality and quantities of hay which was fed to the horses of the department, and which led to the retirement of the redoubtable Walter, as to the details of which I refrain.

    Walter will always loom large in the annals of the fire department of Los Angeles. He was identified with it in its infancy, and he had a personality which will not be lightly forgotten.  In addition to being a fireman of renown, he was a politician of a unique sort, and his Oro Finos were well capable of making the Republican Rome howl.  He was once nominated for secretary of state and achieved at the polls what the French call a debacle, that may be rendered in English a "smashup."  While he was popular with the "boys" he was down way deep in the books of what are irreverently called the "long hairs," who made him run appallingly behind his ticket.

    The versatile Moore tells a good story of himself in that campaign.  He had placarded Los Angeles with flaming posters telling the people to "vote for Walter S. Moore for secretary of state."  He was ranged in line to vote in his own precinct.  Two citizens were ranged in front of him, whom he did not know and who did not know him.  One of them happened to look up and caught sight of Walter's flaming placard.

    "Oh," he said to the man behind him.  "I forgot something.  I intended to scratch that blank be blanked---."

    "Me too, Tom Platt," said the other, and the virile fireman lost two votes through his anxiety to make the art preservative do him some good.

Excerpts from an article written  by Joseph D. Lynch 
for the Los Angeles Herald, June 25, 1905.

Copyright 1999 All Rights Reserved.