On December 14, 1839, a group of residents from the village of Freystown, in Spring Garden Township, met in the school house for the purpose of organizing more adequate fire protection for their village. The Springgarden Active Fire Company was organized, and officers were elected.
A hand operated fire engine was purchased, which was fed by buckets. The company housed its apparatus in a one story wood frame building at the northwest corner of what is now known as Market and Franklin Streets, just north of the water pump located on that corner.
In 1852, the company met and decided to change their name to the Good Will Fire Company No. 1 of Freystown, and a suction pump, built by M.J. Gardner, of York and named the “Hornet” was purchased that same year. In 1858 an engine house was erected at 669 East Market Street and the company relocated.
On January 6, 1888 a committee was appointed for the purpose of purchasing a steam fire engine. The committee contracted with the Silsby Manufacturing Company of Seneca Falls, New York which arrived in York in March of 1888.
In 1890, following a vote of its residents, the village of Freystown left Spring Garden Township and was annexed into the City of York.
As the result of cramped quarters at their two-story brick and wood engine house, the Goodwill purchased a property in the 800 block of East Market Street from the Freystown Building and Loan Association for $3,200.00 on November 30, 1894. Already standing on the lot was a three-story house with a two-story back building. The existing structures were remodeled and the “new” engine house was occupied on March 29, 1895.
On June 25, 1900, the membership of the Goodwill accepted a petition to join the York City Fire Department, as a result of an ordinance passed by the York City Council on June 1, 1900. It is unknown why it took ten years from the time of annexation for the Goodwill to join the department.
On July 15, 1901, a special meeting was held to discuss the construction of a new engine house and the purchase of a chemical engine. At a July 22 meeting, the name of the company was changed to Goodwill Steam and Chemical Fire Company No. 5. At this meeting it was decided to build a new engine house on the site of the current station. This began a confusing year of deed issues, alternate building sites and other problems that delayed the construction of a new engine house. By October of 1902, the problems had been resolved and demolition of the engine house had begun.
On September 26, 1903 a gala dedication was held for the new Goodwill engine house, which is the building currently in use by the company.
In October of 1915, the Goodwill entered the motorized era with the delivery of a Martin combination chemical and hose apparatus, which was built in York.