The March 6 Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant was one of the most popular and respected firefighters in the history of the Amsterdam Fire Department. William Stichel became part of local history twice when then Amsterdam Mayor Sam Wallin appointed him the first chief of Amsterdam’s paid fire department in 1902 after he had also served the previous seven years as the last chief of the volunteer fire brigades that used to protect this city from unwanted flames.
Stichel had been born in Fort Plain on March 6, 1861, just two days after Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th President of a country that had just split itself in two. Ten years later, the Stichel family moved east to Amsterdam, NY, where at the age of 13, young William got his first job working in a Walnut Street broom shop, earning $1.50 per week. Three years later he went to work for his father, an Amsterdam carriage maker, where he learned the blacksmith trade as well as how to work with iron. But the young man had more entrepreneurial dreams and he acted upon them by acquiring a barge and becoming a freight hauler on the old Erie Canal. Unfortunately, his boat sprang a leak and sunk, dashing his dreams of grandeur. Stichel then turned to a career in firefighting.
In 1883, he became…
I’ve already started work on the second volume of “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays” and Chief Stichel’s complete story will be featured in it. I will be sharing the complete posts of some of the Volume II birthday celebrants in future issues of the Amsterdam Birthday Blog Newsletter. If you are not yet a newsletter subscriber, you can sign up for free here.
Chief Stichel shares his March 7 Birthday with this man, who was head of maintenance at the old City Hospital as well as one-time manager of the Hotel Amsterdam.