In 1946 following the end of World War II men returned home to communities all over the nation, Penngrove was no exception.
Families were reunited and eager to work and enjoy the freedom that many American’s had sacrificed to protect this great nation. One thing that was popular in Sonoma County was baseball. It did not take a huge financial investment to put a team together.
The Penngrove Volunteer Fire Department members formed a team as they had prior to the WW II. The big hurdle, where to play? The team played at Penngrove School but the field was too small and designed for children which made it hard for teams to play regulation hardball. The volunteer firemen looked at the Purrington property (now the park) to purchase for a ball field and park.
The volunteers needed to raise money. They thought of dances, raffles, Bar BQ’s, etc. but the then Fire Chief, Harold Sinclair was not in favor of the volunteers using the departments name to raise money in this fashion and using that money for other than fire protection equipment and services.
The volunteers eager to have a new ball field combined with a park for community formed an auxiliary organization and named it Penngrove Social Firemen. They jumped on the opportunity to buy the property from the Purringtons. They held auctions that sold used donated farm equipment and other items of value. They secured no interest loans from local ranchers, business owners and residents and the project was well on its way.
The park was built by volunteers who brought equipment ranging from bull dozers to shovels. The new park quickly became an icon for family gatherings, Bar BQ’s, play ground and of course the ball field.
This new organization, Penngrove Social Firemen, had proved itself as an able body, self supporting organization.
Penngrovian, Clyde Watts, recognized the potential of the new Penngrove Social Firemen organization and put together a set of by-laws and filed for a non-profit status with State of California and the Federal Government which was approved in 1951.
The Penngrove Social Firemen still gets confused by many as part of the fire department, it is not. Although the Social Firemen still have strong ties with Rancho Adobe Firefighters Association, we are not fire fighters and never have been. Years past many Social Firemen were also members of the volunteer Fire Department.