During the guts of the Civil War, the village of New Milford found cause for a smile.

A band of dedicated citizens got together in 1863 and chartered the Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2 fire department.

The equipment is nowadays considerably modernized and the range of the firefighters' responsibilities has expanded.

Yet 150 years later, similarly dedicated citizens are still at it in the town.

Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2, whose home since the 1960s has been the familiar brick edifice along what is known now as Grove Street (Route 67), is just kicking off its 150th anniversary celebration.

The events opened Jan. 5 with the unveiling of a granite monument recognizing the firefighters' 150 years of service to the community.

Then on Jan. 12, Water Witch hosted its annual awards dinner-dance at the Candlewood Inn in Brookfield.

Many more anniversary events are planned throughout 2013, with David Lathrop, a New Milford native son, as the chairman.

For more information, visit www.wwhc2.com.

For more monument unveiling and dinner-dance photos, visit www.newmilfordspectrum.com.

-- Norm Cummings