Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum
Elgin Fire Barn Number 5 Museum is a museum located at 533 St Charles St, Elgin, IL 60120. This historic building was built in 1903 and is now a museum. It originally housed horse-drawn fire fighting apparatus. Today, the museum operates as a working historical site and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Fire Barn Museum is located in the heart of the Elgin Watch Factory Historic District. The building was designed by local architect Smith Hoag and was constructed in the Classical Revival style. It was a two-story building with a large front door that mimicked a fire fighting apparatus door.
In the late 1800s, the city of Elgin, Illinois, was booming. The Elgin Fire Department was created to help keep the city safe from fires. Initially, the department ran on a volunteer basis. However, the firehouses grew in size and professionalism over time. One of the first stations opened in 1889 on Chicago Street near State Street. As the town grew, the department also moved to other locations.
The Fire Barn Museum is operated by volunteers and is a non-profit organization. A few years ago, the City of Elgin and the Fire Barn Museum worked together to develop an agreement for the use of the building. Since then, the firehouse has been cleaned and restored. More info available.
The museum’s collection includes old photographs, uniforms, helmets, and other artifacts. Two of the museum’s fire trucks are on display at Elgin’s firehouses. There is a hose cart that is hand-drawn and a 1869 Silsby Steamer.
The Fire Barn Museum has an annual budget of $200 for fuel for three antique vehicles. Volunteers try to keep the museum running smoothly. They also try to curb expenses as much as possible. Their lease for the Fire Barn ends in 2021.
Fire Barn 5 was designated as a City of Elgin Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. It was one of the most elaborate buildings in Elgin. For a long time, the Fire Barn served as the city’s only active fire station. After it was decommissioned, the building was maintained as a museum.
It is also home to the George Van de Voorde Firefighter Memorial Park, where the names of Elgin area firefighters who were killed in the line of duty are honored. The memorial service includes the reading of the Fireman’s Prayer and the last alarm.
Former Elgin Fire Chief John Henrici had a vision for the memorial, which he hoped would serve as a tribute to firefighters. He wanted to build a monument similar to the one in Springfield. Also try out this place.
The Fire Barn Museum has a mission to preserve and educate the public about the history of the firefighting profession. To do this, they store historical firefighting equipment, artifacts, and photos in their building. They are also responsible for making their records available to the City. Some of the memorabilia they hold includes an original fire truck, a hand-drawn hose cart, and various badge types. Learn more: