EDWARD RUDISSER MACDOWELL served as a member of the Camden Fire Department for many years. He succeeded William Van Pfefferle as permanent Chief of Department, after Harry Wagner had served as interim Chief in the fall of 1958. 

Edward MacDowell was born on June 16, 1900. The 1910 Census shows that he was being raised by his grandparents, Richard and Kate Allen, of 814 South  5th Street. When he registered for the draft Edward MacDowell was living at 517 Taylor Avenue in Camden and working as a mechanic's helper at the Pusey & Jones shipyard in Gloucester City, New Jersey. At some point after January of 1920, Edward MacDowell married Matilda Gerke. Her father, Henry Gerke, was a member of the Camden Fire Department. 

On April 3, 1926 Edward R. MacDowell was appointed to the Camden Fire Department. It gives his address as 1813 Broadway, which was the location of Engine Company 3. Fire Department records from 1931 show him living at 1507 Springfield Avenue, which is in Pennsauken. By the time the 1940 City Directory was compiled, he had been promoted to captain and was living at 1308 South Merrimac Road in Fairview.

Edward MacDowell retired at the mandatory age of 65. He was succeeded as Chief of Department by Edward V. Michalak on July 1, 1965.

Edward R. MacDowell Sr. passed away on January 2, 1966, survived by his wife Matilda. He was buried at Bethel Cemetery in Pennsauken. Matilda MacDowell joined her husband in 2004. 



Camden Courier-Post * March 8, 1937


Eli Hunt
Engine Company 3
Warren Rich
Edward R. MacDowell
Mary Kobus
Charles Errickson
J. Eavenson & Sons soap works
Baker-Flick Co. department store
Engine Company 9

Camden Courier-Post * June 5, 1940
Truck Disbanded, Engine Company Created; 13 Men Transferred

Commissioner Mary W. Kobus yesterday announced a number of changes in the fire department, including the disbanding of Truck Company No. 4; creation of a new engine company. No. 10, and the transfer of 18 officers and men, 12 of them captains.

Most of the new captains have been serving as acting captains and promotion to full rank will involve no pay increases, inasmuch as the men signed waivers foregoing the raises.

Commissioner Kobus explained most of the changes were made to conform with regulations of the National Board of Fire Underwriters. The board, Mrs. Kobus explained, made a survey of the department and advised appointments of acting captains to full rank.

The commissioner also announced she had appointed Junior Captain Raymond Smith as director of the school for firemen at Engine Company No. 10, Ninth and Morgan streets. Smith, one of the youngest at the recently appointed junior captains, will succeed the late Battalion Chief Rollo Jones.

Senior Captain Leonard Megee was appointed acting battalion chief to succeed Jones. He will continue at the Fifth and Arch streets fire headquarters.

Junior Captain William Spencer, of headquarters company, was named relief captain.

Engine Company No. 10 will use the headquarters of the old truck
company, at Ninth and Morgan streets.

To the new company Mrs. Kobus assigned Senior Captain Mortica Clark and Firemen Frank Burt, Frank Esperance and Clifford Lane.

Junior Captain Frank Oberman was transferred from Engine Company No. 10 to Engine Company No. 1, at fire headquarters.

Other assignments are as follows:

Junior Captain Robert Wonsetler, Engine Company No. 11, to Engine Company No. 2.

Fireman Harry Kleinfelder, Engine Company No. 6, to Engine Company No. 2

Junior Captain Edgar Ellender, Engine Company No. 2, to Engine Company No. 6

Junior Captain Ralph Bingemann, Truck Company No. 2, to Engine Company No. 7.

Fireman David Humphries, Truck Company No. 3, to Engine Company No. 11.

Junior Captain Nelson Andrews, Engine Company No. 2, to Truck Company No. 1.

Fireman Albert Dukes, Jr., Truck Company No. 1, to Engine Company No. 2.

Junior Captain Winfield Levisuer, Truck Company No. 2, to Truck Company No. 3.

Junior Captain Edward McDowell retains assignment to Engine Company No. 3.

Junior Captain Maurice O’Brien assigned to Engine Company No. 10.

The changes were contained in notice to the Civil Service Commission, are effective as of June 1 and will appear on the June 15 payroll.

Camden Courier-Post
February 15, 1956

Edward R. MacDowell
Frank Abbott
Howard Clayton
Engine Company 2


Camden Courier-Post * January 26, 1957
Samuel Liberatti - Avon Street - West Street - Beckett Street - August Johnson - Orville Goldsboro
Raymond Amos - Bertha Alemi - Edward R. MacDowell - Pine Street - South 4th Street
Engine Company 1- Engine Company 2 - Ladder Company 1

Graduation of Probationary Fireman
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Graduation of Probationary Fireman (from left) Chief John Graham, Captain Anthony Dzinski, Assistant Training Officer Nicholas George, Firemen Herman Reed, Bertram Dahl, Joseph Dowhy, Joseph Simpson, Edward Morgenweck, Charles Christensen, Joseph Wolfinger, George Dixon, Edward Ulrich, Reginald Laws, Grant Keller, and Chief Edward MacDowell.

 1959- At Engine 6 with Mayor Alfred Pierce and 
District Chief
Harry J. Wagner

Camden Courier-Post
January 23, 1960

James A. Garfield School


James A. Garfield School - North 29th Street - Cramer Street - Dr. Anthony Catrambone
Winfield Leviseur - Edward R. McDowell - John Gaffney Sr. - Carl Greenwald - North 33rd Street

Engine Company 2 with new pumper in front of quarters, 5th & Arch Streets, 1960. 
Bottom row, from left: Fireman
Harrison MacNeir, Chief Edward MacDowell, Fireman James Troutman, Captain Albert Weller, Fireman Charles Devlin, Fireman William Hopkins, Fireman George Hennessey; Top row, left to right: Fireman Francis Stibi, Fireman Robert Briggs, Fireman Bertram Dahl, Fireman Erwin Brennan, Captain Thomas Winstanley, Fireman Anthony Orme..

A New Class of Probies - January 1961

Recruit Firemen Clarence Hawkins, Joseph Arensberg, Jerise Garten Sr., Richard Brooks, Walter Williams, Commissioner Edward Garrity and Chief of Department Edward MacDowell

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In the staff office at Fire Headquarters (kneeling from left) Fireman Ernest Tartaglia, Fireman Howard Lewis, Fireman Harrison MacNeir; (standing from left) Captain Allen F. Hess Sr., Fireman Dominic Dalanni, Fireman Henry Keubler, Chief Harry Wagner, Fireman James Troutman, Chief Edward Michalak, Fireman James Smith, Chief Edward MacDowell, Fireman John Yates, and Fireman George Wade.  Photo by Bob Bartosz taken in 1961

North 29th Street & Hayes Avenue
November 30, 1961
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A Cadillac collided with a Hudson, Engine Company 11 responded. Chief of Department Edward MacDowell is on the scene, wearing the white coat.
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Looking Northwest across the park
from the NE corner of 29th & Hayes
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Looking North on Hayes Avenue from North 29th Street
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Camden Courier-Post
January 4, 1962

Howard Doerschner
Edward R. MacDowell
Nicholas George
Leo Tompkins Sr.
Walter Burgin
Walter E. Klaus










Camden Courier-Post
April 28, 1962

HEAVY BLACK SMOKE pours from a vacant factory and warehouse building formerly owned by the Fuller Brush Company at 6th Street and Atlantic Avenue this morning as a three alarm lire destroyed the structure. The amount of the loss has not been determined.

Camden Courier-Post * April 28, 1962


John Gaffney Sr. - Robert Thomas - Edward MacDowell - Giant Tiger - Philip Farrow
Donald Fuhrer - Modern Hard Chrome aka SL Surface Technologies
Engine Company 8 - Engine Company 6 - South 6th Street - Atlantic Avenue

Camden Courier-Post
May 23, 1962

Edward R. MacDowell
Alfred R. Pierce
Alfred C. Thawley
North 5th Street
C.H. McWilliams
Pyne Poynt Junior High School

A GIANT THERMOMETER atop threat burning buildings at 5th and Pearl streets threatened to collapse Tuesday afternoon. The houses were slated for demolition to nuke room for expansion of the nearby Delaware River Port Authority’s headquarters. Origin of the fire was undetermined. 


Camden Courier-Post
June 20, 1962

Chester Gedrich
Morton Street
Harrison MacNeir
Rescue Company 1
Donna Bender
Ladder Company 1
Engine Company 2
Edward R. MacDowell

Camden Courier-Post * July 25, 1962

9 Firemen Graduate In City Test

Graduation exercises for nine of the city's newest firemen were held Tuesday in headquarters at 3rd and Arch Streets under direction of Public Safety Director Bedell and Fire Chief Edward R. MacDowell.

The graduates and their assignments are Joseph Anderson, Canterbury Apartments, No. 1 Ladder; Prescott Johnson, 1238 Kenwood Avenue, No. 8 Engine; Philip Maycott, 1023 North 32nd Street, No. 9 Engine; George Getty, Canterbury Apartments, No. 2 Engine; Ronald Bowers, 617 Clinton Street, No. 2 Ladder; William Young, 3167 Westfield Avenue, No. 2 Engine Company; Wayne Kraft, 1052 N. 35th Street, No. 3 Ladder; Raymond Eldridge, 7 North Dudley Street, No. 7 Engine; and Donald Goehringer, 30 North 24th Street, No. 7 Engine Company.

They will receive a starting salary of $4,800. Chief MacDowell said this brings the department to 170 hosemen and to 224 total personnel in the department. 

All nine were graduated after receiving three weeks of training at the fire school under the direction of Captain Leo J. Tompkins.

Their training also included two days at the Navy Fire School at the Philadelphia Naval Base.

Camden Courier-Post
February 9, 1963

Edward R. MacDowell
Joseph A. Murray - Harrison Avenue
Thomas Stammerjohann - Whitman Avenue
Kirby Bates - Beideman Avenue
William P. Neale Jr. - River Avenue
John Brzozowski - Idaho Road

George Baxter - Louis Martelli - Edward R. MacDowell

Camden Courier-Post * October 2, 1963

Pennsauken Fire Department - Robert Dukes - Edward V. Michalak
Col. Edwin Bedell - Edward MacDowell

Camden Courier-Post * October 2, 1963
Philip Farrow - Howard Doerschner - Edward V. Michalak - Col. Edwin Bedell - Edward MacDowell
Pennsauken Fire Department - Niagara Fire Company - John T. Plasket - Richard Davis - Haddon Heights Fire Company 

Edward MacDowell

George Baxter - Austin E. Marks - Edward R. MacDowell

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 15, 1964

Fire Captain Dies, 2 Men Hurt Battling 2-Alarmer in Camden
Fire Rages for 2 Hours In 3 Stores

A Camden City fire captain collapsed and died while fighting a stubborn two-alarm blaze that roared out of control for almost five hours Tuesday night.

Capt. Leonard Iannelli was directing members of Fire Truck (Ladder Company) 2 when he apparently suffered a heart attack. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Cooper Hospital.

Two other firemen were sent to hospitals for treatment of smoke inhalation. They were District Chief Frank Deal, 35, of 412 North 37th Street and fireman John Yates, 63, of 2400 South 8th Street. Deal was treated at Cooper Hospital and Yates at West Jersey Hospital.

Despite the collapse of a brick wall, which showered stones onto the pavement, there were no other injuries. 


The blaze was discovered at 5:45 P. M. in a shop occupied by the Walmart Tailors Co. in a three-story brick building at Broadway and Chestnut Street. At 10:15 P. M., Fire Chief Edward MacDowell declared the fire under control.

Although only two alarms were turned in, extra pieces of apparatus took their positions at .the scene as flames damaged the second and third-story levels of adjoining stores at 1105 and 1107 Broadway.

The main floor of the Schrack Paint Co., 1107 Broadway, was untouched by the blaze as firemen concentrated streams of water to head off a possible explosion.

At 9:10 and 9:20 P. M. portions of the wall at the third floor level of the tailor shop collapsed inward. Bricks hurtled onto the sidewalk, but firemen had already taken positions across the street with their equipment.


As the fire gained in intensity after the second alarm went in at 6:18, firemen mounted two aerial ladders to pour water into the rear of the burning build­ings.

Originally the fire was declared under control at 7:45, but] 15 minutes later flames leaped from the tailor shop to the other || buildings.

Fire officials said the building housing the tailor shop at 1103 Broadway was a total loss, along with 14 apartments on the second and third floors at 1105 second and third floors at 1107 and 1107 were badly damaged, also.

John's Bargain Store, 1109-1111 Broadway, separated from the other three buildings by a fire wall, received smoke damage and water seepage. 


Tenants from the apartments above the tailor shop fled to the street, wearing only the clothes on their backs. They were escorted to safety by Police Sgt. John Ferry and Patrolman Alfred Haines, who were first on the scene after the alarm.

The blaze was first noticed by Harold Walter, of 1708 Country Club Lane, Haddonfield, who had just locked up his tailor shop for the day.

Two other firemen suffered smoke inhalation and were taken to hospitals. They were District Chief Frank Deal, 35, of 412 North 37th Street and John Yates, 63, of 2400 South 8th Street. Deal was treated at Cooper Hospital and Yates at West Jersey Hospital. Finally, at 10:15 P. M., Fire Chief Edward MacDowell declared the fire under control.

Camden Courier-Post * April 30, 1964
Harold H. Pike - Edward R. MacDowell - Edward Michalak - John T. Odorisio
North 31st Street - Keith Kauffman

A Change of Command on New Years Eve
Retiring Chief of Department
Edward MacDowell greeting incoming Chief of Department Edward Michalak following the 0800 roll call on December 31, 1964

1965- On the occasion of Edward Michalak's appointment to Chief of Department (seated from left) retiring Chief of Department Edward MacDowell, Chief Edward Michalak, Director Keith Kauffman; (standing from left) District Chiefs Frank Deal, Joseph Guarino, Robert Dukes, Anthony Saponare, Theodore Primas, Daniel Jiannetto, Fireman Erwin Brennan, Major William Gwynne of the Volunteers of America Fire Canteen. 


Edward R. MacDowell
Walt Whitman Hotel
Joseph Guarino


Camden Courier-Post * 1965

Edward R. MacDowell
Walt Whitman Hotel
William T. Cahill - Alfred R. Pierce
Joseph Guarino  - Rev. WIlliam A. Gwynne

Camden Courier-Post * January 3, 1966




Camden Fire Department
First Annual Retirement Dinner
May 3, 1966
 William T. Cahill - Alfred R. Pierce - Edward V. Michalak
Keith Kauffman - Rev. W.A. Gwynne -
Edward R. MacDowell
Howard W. Ways
- George L. Boone - Isaac Muns - John C. Voll  
John T. Clemmens
- Harrison B. Pike - Albert A. Weller
Austin E. Marks - Edward Y. Scott - John W. Yates

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