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Boxing was not the only off duty activity of the Leadville Fire Department under Fire Chief Irwin. The above photo was taken circa 1909 in front of the Harrison Avenue Fire Station. To the right of the photo is a portion of the double doors which, during fire emergencies, flung open to allow charging horses, pulling fire wagons and men, to race to the scene of the emergency. Standing in the single doorway in vest and straw hat is Fire Chief William Irwin surrounded by fellow firemen and young baseball “sportsmen.”


When Billy Irwin died unexpectedly in 1910 his obituary stated that he was “an all around athlete who encouraged and promoted good, clean sports of all kinds.” This picture sums up graphically what the preceding quote states verbally. The obituary goes on to say, “his friends are numbered by the hosts and are composed of men, women and children in all walks of life.” Again this picture speaks louder than the words of his obituary in the graphic, visible smiles of Billy Irwin’s young baseball friends.

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