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Fire House Five Plays for 1972 Fourth of July in Ashland

Ashland’s Fourth of July was pretty typical in 1972, with at least half the town lining the streets watching the fly-over and parade until a 1920s antique fire engine jerked and jumped down the boulevard with the Fire House Dixieland Five aboard.

One of the community’s liveliest jazz groups, the band actually had more than five members.  They included Dick Cottle on trumpet, Chris Hald on tuba, Warren Moore on saxophone, Dave Wight on clarinet, and Bob Reinholdt on drums.  Other musicians who took a turn included John Lusk, Raoul Maddox, John Lazzerie and Gene Piazza. 

The group managed to appear two or three times during the parade, working with the official monitoring the parade, Jack Mills, who held back other floats and dignitaries to provide a shortcut for the band’s return each time.

For health reasons, the Dixieland band stopped parading for the Fourth in about 1998.  Other musicians have ridden in the parade on antique trucks, but the Firehouse Five was memorable.

All the core members had marriages that had lasted at least 50 years. They said they believed music kept them young and happy.

Sources: Pugh, Lance K. Essentially Ashland…The Missing Years. Bloomington, Ind.: Authorhouse Press, 2006. Print.

Maryann Mason has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon.