Settlers began arriving in this area around 1797, the land was part of the military tracts given to soldiers of the Continental Army as their reward for fighting in the Revolutionary War. Prior to the arrival of the settlers the Cayuga Indians occupied the area. The settlers went to work establishing farms, factories, churches, schools, other businesses, and raising families.
The Village of Dryden was incorporated in 1857, then the village was 999 acres, and managed by a board of Trustees. The trustees were concerned with the conditions of the village streets, sanitation, stray dogs, water wells, police, and local facilities such as the lock up.
On February 7, 1874 a late night fire destroyed the Methodist Church. The Methodist Church fire made the villagers aware of the need for fire protection. A hand pump fire engine was purchased from the City of Auburn in December of 1874. January 13, 1875 W. W. Kennedy was appointed as the Chief Engineer of the Dryden Fire Department.
In 1876 a Village Hall, Engine House, pound, and lockup facility was constructed for a cost of $1,224 on South street. Water in the village was retrieved from wells and cisterns throughout the village with limited success. Apparently there is a hard rock layer at 22 feet deep, which well digging equipment at the time struggled to penetrate..
In May of 1877, the Resolute Fire “Engine” Company formed. Trainings were done on the Village Green and were a public spectacle. The firemen fundraise by having festivals for uniforms. The firemen wore full uniforms during the drills. The festivals included food, an orchestra and dancing.
On October 16, 1877 the Neptune Hose Company No. 1 was formed, and they are referred to as the “Hose Boys”. The “Hose Boys” continue to have regular dances and dinners, as well as training for any potential fires.
As of June 1878, the Village of Dryden had two fire companies both with their own elected officers, operating under Chief Engineer Kennedy. There have been 2 fires in the past 12 years; some are debating if the fire department should be classified as useful or things ornamental! The members of the two companies are ready and trained for the possible event of a fire. There have been several close calls and any major conflagration has been prevented.
With funds raised the “Hose Boy’s” purchased a new hose cart from the Independent Hose Company No. 3 in Elmira. By September of 1878 the membership of the Dryden Fire Department was at 75 members. The biggest excitement seems to be the festivals, dances and parades.
In 1937 the Village passed a resolution allowing Dryden Firemen to answer alarms outside of the village incorporation.