Excerpts from NorthernStar.info:
A local foundation plans to create a museum to house the DeKalb Fire Department’s artifacts, some of which date back to the department’s creation nearly 150 years ago.
The DeKalb Firefighters Historical Foundation, which was created four years ago to preserve the history of the department and its connection to DeKalb and NIU, is fundraising to purchase a building for the museum, said Patrick Eriksen, DeKalb firefighter and paramedic.
“The museum and the creation of the historical foundation kinda’ all came together hand in hand,” Eriksen said. “We’re going to be coming up on our 150th anniversary of the fire department, and we’ve acquired a lot of artifacts … both big, as far as old vehicles, old rigs … even all the way down to the smallest thing like badges from history past.”
The DeKalb Fire Department was founded on a volunteer basis in 1869 and became a full time fire department in 1904.
One of the department’s most prized possessions is a vintage dispatch board, which is comprised of a series of levers that produce a ticker tape that was used to determine the address of an emergency. There are only two left in the country, Eriksen said.
“For me to not only continue on that tradition, but to do it in a town that I’ve always wanted to do since I started thinking about doing this venture, it’s pretty important, pretty special to me,” Eriksen said.
The fire department is currently talking with the city about a property that can’t be disclosed at this time, said Lieutenant Todd Stoffa, who chairs the foundation.
The foundation is looking at, a couple different options to make things go forward in regard to the building.
The fire department will hold its fourth Annual Pancake Breakfast on Sunday to raise funds for the foundation. The breakfast will cost $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 4 to 10 and free for children under 4. Tickets will be available at the event.
Proceeds from the breakfast will go towards purchasing the building that will house the museum, and then towards ongoing maintenance and infrastructure for the museum through the historical foundation.
“Once we get past that then we might be able to utilize those funds in many other means,” Eriksen said.
In addition to members of the fire department cooking breakfast for guests, the event will also have an open house tour of the station, an inflatable jump house, and a smoke trailer to coincide with fire prevention month, among other things.
The breakfast will run 8 a.m. to noon at the DeKalb Fire Department, Station 1, 700 Pine St. Contact Adam Miller at 815-748-8649 for more information about the breakfast.