Captain Ed Strickland
Riverside’s First Black Fireman & Fire Captain
“When we were small, every summer Captain Strickland would hook up a fire hose to the fire hydrant in front of the Caroline’s house and fill our pool.”
Ed Strickland worked as a caddy at Victoria Club Golf Course before joining the fire department in 1937. He was the first black firefighter and the only black firefighter for many years. He was also the first Black firefighter promoted to Captain within the Riverside Fire Department.
In 1940, just three years after joining the fire department, Riverside gained national attention when Ed Strickland invented the “preconnected one and one half inch” hose. This hose was adopted nationwide and is still in use today.
This is what Carole Strickland Bugg had to say about her Dad: “Ed Strickland was a lot of things to a lot of people. To name a few, he was an athlete, a superb golfer, an inventor, and an ultimate professional. Nothing made him happier than to be sitting in a boat with his fishing line in the water on a sunny day, waiting for that “big one” to strike. No, maybe he was happiest when he was holding his grandsons on his lap tickling them. He had a wicked, droll sense of humor and could tell the funniest joke with straightest face.
As many in Riverside can tell you, he was practically unbeatable in checkers and ping pong. Yes, he was many things to many people. However, to me, my Dad was all of these things wrapped up in a loving package full of fun, caring, hugging, gentleness and knowledge.
To me, he was just about perfect – yep, that was my Dad! I’m do proud of him – I miss him terribly.”