Evanston Fire Department history Part 73

From Phil Stenholm:

Another installment about the History of the Evanston Fire Department


On May 1, 1975, the Evanston City Council accepted bids for a new 1,000 / 300 triple-combination pumper, with the exact same specifications as the two Howe pumpers purchased a year earlier. The new pumper would replace the 1952 Pirsch 1000 / 100 TCP (Engine 25) that was originally Squad 21 before being rebuilt as a TCP by General Body in 1966. Mack came in with the low bid of $53,725, beating out FWD Seagrave, Pirsch, and several other apparatus manufacturers for the contract. As expected, EFD Chief George Beattie specified that the new Mack pumper be painted “safety yellow,” just like the two Howe pumpers delivered in 1974 and 1975.

In addition, Chief Beattie received a new Plymouth sedan (fleet # 301) in 1975 that was painted red instead of “safety yellow,” with the chief’s 1973 Plymouth station wagon transferred to the platoon commanders as the new F-2 after a light bar was installed on the roof replacing the portable “Kojak light.” The former F-2 (1971 Dodge station wagon) was transferred to the Fire Prevention Bureau (FPB) to be used by the newly-created fire investigation unit (“arson squad”) that would be staffed each shift by a trained fire investigator. Firefighters Bob Schwarz, Pat Lynn, and Jim Hayes were appointed fire investigators by Chief Beattie. As part of the reorganization, one of the two FPB captain positions was eliminated after Capt. Joe Thill retired. 

Also, as part of the contract resulting from the firefighters strike of February 1974, the average work-week for firefighters was reduced from 56 hours to 54 hours, with two new positions created in the EFD in 1975 that increased  total membership from 100 to 102. One fireman would now be assigned each shift to cover for a fireman absent while on a “short day” (formerly known as a “Kelly Day”), with three firemen on each shift covering for vacations and sick leave. As a result, the de facto EFD minimum shift staffing was reduced from 28 to 27, with six three-man companies (the five engine companies plus Truck 22), two four-man companies (Truck 21 and Squad 21), and the shift commander (F-2).     

Eighteen new firefighters were hired in 1974-75, including Samuel Boddie, Art Miller, Bill Betke, Jim Potts, Dave Lopina, Bob Hayden, Mike Adam, Don Gschwind, Thomas Simpson, Joe Hayes, Bob Wagner, Keith Filipowski, Ken Dohm, Tom Kavanagh, Milton Dunbar, Ward Cook, Jim Keaty, and Donald Williams. Also, Fireman James “Guv” Whalen was promoted to captain, firemen Harry Harloff and Ken Perysian retired after 23 years of service, and several other firefighters resigned.  

On Wednesday, May 28, 1975, the Evanston Fire Department responded to a report of a fire in the rear storage yard of the Rust-Oleum Corporation at 2301 Oakton Street. A second alarm was struck immediately upon arrival of the first companies, and a MABAS box was eventually pulled, the first time the EFD had requested a MABAS box since the system was implemented in 1968.

At the peak of the fire, 19 2-1/2-inch hand lines, two deluge nozzles, one multi-versal, one ladder pipe from Truck 22, one street jack, and one deck gun from Squad 21 supplied streams that were played onto the storage yard and nearby exposures, as numerous 55-gallon drums full of paint exploded and were sent hundreds of feet into the air. Evanston police temporarily evacuated some of the residences to the east and north. 

A 200,000-gallon water storage tank located at the southwest corner of Cleveland & Hartrey was supplied by a 24-inch feeder main that extended south from Church Street. The storage tank fed a 1,000-GPM pump owned by Rust-Oleum and operated by their company fire brigade, as well as the standard ten-inch and twelve-inch residential mains in the neighborhood. Engines from the Evanston, Skokie, Wilmette, Morton Grove, and Winnetka fire departments pumped water from numerous hydrants located to the east and north of the fire, including one hydrant at the dead-end of Cleveland Street at the C&NW RR Mayfair Division tracks 1/4 mile north of Rust-Oleum.

The conflagration was eventually surrounded, drowned, contained, and extinguished, but not before causing $775,000 in damage, making it the fourth highest loss from a fire in Evanston’s history up until that point in time. Only the fires at the American Hospital Supply Corporation (October 1963), the Rolled Steel Corporation (January 1970), and Bramson’s clothing store (October 1971) cause greater damage. If nothing else, the Rust-Oleum fire was certainly the most spectacular fire in Evanston’s history!

The next day — May 29, 1975 — the Evanston Fire Department celebrated its centennial. Although May 29, 1875, was the date that the EFD was legally established by ordinance, the actual genesis of the village fire department was January 7, 1873, when the 60-man volunteer Pioneer Fire Company of Evanston was accepted for service by the village board. 

The purpose of the fire department ordinance of May 29, 1875 was not to create a firefighting force. The Pioneer Fire Company — renamed “Pioneer Hose Co. No. 1” in December 1874 when the Holly High-Pressure Waterworks was placed into service — already existed, and had existed for more than two years. Rather, the  real purpose of the ordinance was to legally describe the method by which additional volunteer fire companies could be organized and accepted for service with the village going forward, since by May 1875 the C. J. Gilbert Hose Company was already in the process of being organized, chartered, and trained.

Once the C. J. Gilbert Hose Company was ready to be accepted for service, the ordinance needed to describe the relationship between the two hose companies. They might be rivals, but they could not be competitors. They had to work together for a common purpose. Also, the ordinance legally installed the fire marshal as chief of the fire department, with the two hose companies plus any other companies that might eventually be organized and accepted for service officially and legally under the command and direction of the fire marshal.  

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Evanston Fire Department history – Part 3

More from Phil Stenholm – Part 1, Part 2

On May 23, 1881,  the Village Board of Trustees was advised of a letter delivered earlier in the day to the Fire Marshal:

“To: W. R. Bailey, Esq.
Fire Marshal of the Village of Evanston


It having come to the knowledge of the members of the Evanston Fire  Department, that the trustees of said village have determined not to meet the requirements of said department, the Pioneer & C. J. Gilbert hose companies, in joint meeting assembled, have determined to resign as members of the Evanston Fire Department, and do hereby tender their resignations to take effect at once.

The members of said companies, however, agree to respond to all alarms of fire which may occur during the next 15 days, not as firemen, but as citizens.

A. Simpson, Foreman, C. J. Gilbert Fire Co.
A. Hallstrom, Foreman, Pioneer Hose Co.

May 23, 1881″

As requested by the firemen, Chief Bailey delivered the letter to the village board. It was reported that the trustees accepted the letter without comment. If the purpose of the mass resignation was to pressure the trustees into meeting the requirements of the fire department, then the firefighters were disappointed.

But the hose companies were frequently disappointed in their dealings with the village board. Whether it was a dispute over clothing or equipment, or the trustees’ indifference toward collecting the authorized 2% tax on “foreign” insurance companies doing business in Evanston, a tax that could have been used to provide financial compensation for members of the hose companies, the Pioneers and the Gilberts felt they never seemed to receive the respect and attention they deserved. The last straw was when the village board officially accepted the  Evanston Hook & Ladder Company for service with the EFD on April 21, 1881.

The new hook & ladder company had been in training for only a short time, but the village board hurriedly accepted the company for service after two children were killed in a house fire at the William Enders cottage on April 19th. The tragic deaths of the Enders children marked what is believed to be the first fire-related fatalities to occur in Evanston, certainly the first since formation of the Pioneer Fire Company in 1873. It was postulated that a hook & ladder company dedicated to rescue might have saved the two youngsters.

Neither the Pioneers nor the Gilberts wanted the hook & ladder company as it was constituted to be a part of the Evanston Fire Department. The Pioneers however, were especially upset because establishing a hook & ladder company to support the hose companies with rescue, ventilation, and salvage had been their idea in the first place, proposed to the village board in 1875, and the Pioneers wanted control over the hook & ladder company’s membership and training. They wanted the company to be the Pioneer Hook & Ladder Company. The trustees however, apparently wanted the new hook & ladder company kept separate from the Pioneers and from the Gilberts, so as to not give any additional power or influence to either of the hose companies.

The degree to which the Pioneers and the Gilberts were aroused can be measured by the unified stand in their letter to Chief Bailey. Prior to this, the only joint meeting assembled that the rival hose companies ever had was at a fire. But in this final chapter, the Pioneers and Gilberts stood united.

After the hose companies disbanded, the Village Board of Trustees’  Police & Fire Committee was given the task of devising a new fire protection plan. Chief Denis Swenie of the Chicago Fire Department was enlisted as an advisor/consultant, and in less than a week the Police & Fire Committee presented their report to the village board, with the following recommendations:

1. Purchase 1,000 feet of first-class 2-1/2 inch  hose, a four-wheeled horse-drawn hose cart, and a horse. The horse could be used by the street department to pull a wagon when not in use by the fire department;

2. Replace the volunteer fire companies with a paid fire department of approximately four-to-six men, with additional reserve manpower available for large fires.

The committee added that Chief Swenie believed the cost of operating a paid fire department would probably not exceed the funding required to operate the old volunteer fire department, since a smaller paid company–consisting of no more than six men total, would require far less clothing, gear, and equipment than did the much larger volunteer companies with as many as thirty men serving in each company.

However, it should be noted that Chief Swenie was probably somewhat prejudiced as far as whether volunteer firefighters should be the backbone of a fire department. The City of Chicago had been forced to disband several of its more famous (or infamous) volunteer fire companies in 1858, after firemen started a riot in downtown Chicago over the issue of acceptance of steam fire engines for service with the Chicago Fire Department. Because steam fire engines required considerably less manpower than did the labor-intensive hand-pumpers, fewer firemen would be needed, and fewer firemen translated into less political power and influence for the volunteer companies.

Despite the rapid completion and submission of the report, the implementation of the plan was delayed for almost four months, until a village board meeting in late September 1881. There were no significant fires in the village during this time. At this meeting, the trustees at first agreed that it was unfair to ask volunteers to serve as firefighters without some type of compensation, but three hours later the trustees decided that the fire department would remain 100% volunteer, with no compensation for its members. The trustees claimed that because of financial limitations, nothing could be done to change the fire department from volunteer to paid until the next fiscal year’s budget.

The new volunteer fire department would consist of the 15-man hook & ladder company that had been accepted for service in April 1881; one, 30-man hose company whose membership would be determined not by the Fire Marshal, but by the superintendent of the street department, that would definitely not be connected in any way with either Pioneer Hose Company, No. 1,  or the C. J. Gilbert Hose Company, and a new chemical company that would consist of eight Davis Street merchants utilizing the old Babcock chemical-engine in mothballs since 1875.

The new volunteer fire department really only existed on paper, however. Street Department Superintendent Peter Svedlund’s so-called “hose company” had no organizational structure or training drills, and because former Pioneer and Gilbert hose company members were excluded, the company also lacked experience and expertise. The Evanston Hook & Ladder Company, although also lacking experience and expertise, was at least trained and organized, but its mission was to provide rescue, ventilation, and salvage support. It was not trained or equipped for fire suppression. The proposed chemical company was never organized.

On November 1, 1881, after a couple of embarrassing performances by the Evanston Fire Department during the previous month, in which the so-called “volunteers” either failed to respond promptly or did not respond at all, Fire Marshal Bob Bailey offered to resign. The village board convinced Chief Bailey to reconsider, promising him that a better fire protection plan would be implemented in 1882.

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Evanston Fire Department history – Part 2

More Evanston Fire Department history from Phil Stenholm:

On May 2, 1875, the EFD responded to an early-morning blaze at the First Presbyterian Church at Lake & Chicago  Although firemen arrived promptly, the structure was lost, mainly because of a communication mix-up between firefighters at the scene and the engineer on duty at the Waterworks engine-house. Firefighters believed water-pressure was being increased when they heard what they thought was an acknowledgment from the Waterworks engineer (it was actually a whistle from a C&NW RR train), so by the time a messenger was sent on horseback to the engine-house, the church was destroyed.

Later that month, a telegraph connection was established between the village hall and the Waterworks. Even with improved communication (telephones replaced the telegraph in the 1880s), the fire at the First Presbyterian Church was not to be the only instance where poor communication between firefighters and a Waterworks engineer would give a black eye to the EFD. Meanwhile, the First Presbyterian Church was rebuilt on the same site, only to be destroyed by fire again in February 1894.

The Evanston Fire Department was legally established by ordinance on May 25, 1875 and took effect on May 29th, once it was published in the newspaper. The ordinance was only a technicality, however, as the origin of the fire department certainly was January 7, 1873, the night the Village Board of Trustees accepted the Pioneer Fire Company for service. 

The C. J. Gilbert Hose Company was organized in January 1875 and after a six-month period of evaluation was accepted for service by the village board in August 1875, joining Pioneer Hose Company No. 1 as one of Evanston’s two volunteer hose companies.

The Pioneers and the Gilberts were each assigned one hand-drawn, two-wheeled, one-axle hose cart (one built by Silsby, the other by G. W. Hannis), 1000 feet of 2-1/2 inch hose, an assortment of nozzles, related tools and equipment. Gilbert Hose Company foreman William Gamble, a local grocer, served as village Fire Marshal from November 1876 to May 1878. Pioneer Fire Company foreman (and butcher) W. R. “Bob” Bailey served as Fire Marshal from May 1878 to July 1883. Bailey’s Meat Market & Ice House was one of the shops destroyed in the Willard Block fire of 1872.

From January 1875 to April 1881, the Evanston Fire Department consisted of just the two volunteer hose companies. All of the apparatus, equipment, and gear were owned by the village. Both companies maintained their apparatus and held their respective monthly meetings on the first floor of the village hall. Each company gave its own Firemen’s Ball each year, the Pioneers on St. Patrick’s Day, and the Gilberts on New Year’s Eve. Which was the better party has been lost to antiquity.

Company officers included the foreman who was the company commander, a 1st assistant foreman, a 2nd assistant foreman, a 3rd assistant foreman, a secretary, and a treasurer. All company officers were elected annually by the members of the company, and new members were allowed to join only after receiving the approval of company members. Most of the members of the two companies were Evanston merchants or their employees.

Pioneer Hose Company, No. 1 was considered one of the elite hose companies in Illinois, and frequently competed in musters with other fire companies. The Pioneers had fancy uniforms featuring navy blue caps, red flannel shirts with black trim and a number “1” on the front, and black belts with white trim. They took their pick of new equipment acquired by the village, and usually got their “man” installed as the village fire marshal. Conversely, the C. J. Gilbert Hose Company, formed by a cadre of renegade outcasts from the Pioneer Fire Company, did NOT participate in state musters, did NOT have fancy uniforms, and were considered the “poor step-brothers” of the EFD.

As in many volunteer fire departments of the day, Evanston’s two hose companies were friendly rivals, and each enjoyed nothing better than blasting the other with water after extinguishing a “good fire.” They also would race each other to be first on scene, first with water on the fire, and first to extinguish the flames. Unfortunately, the Village Board of Trustees would sometimes play one company off against the other, by appointing one company’s foreman as the village fire marshal, or by distributing new equipment to one company but not to the other. And the Gilberts were usually the ones that got the short end of the pike pole.

Although fires in Evanston were rare, and big fires even more rare, the Pioneers and the Gilberts did have their moments, especially during the night of January 2, 1879. At 9 PM, firefighters responded in bitter cold (supposedly minus-20 degrees) to a report of a fire at Dempster Hall dormitory on the campus of Northwestern University. Constructed in 1854, Dempster Hall was one of the oldest structures in the village. Three hours later, the vacant residence hall stood gutted, and firefighters were frozen and exhausted. students were on Christmas Vacation at the time.

There was no rest for the weary, however, as the Pioneers and the Gilberts responded to another reported fire at 2 AM, this time at the Northwestern Gas Light & Coke Company (the “gasworks”) at Clark & Maple. Coal sheds, several tons of coal, and 20 barrels of tar were destroyed before firefighters quelled the conflagration. The companies then turned the hose streams on each other. Fortunately, today’s Evanston firefighters are not so childish…

Two more significant fires occurred during early 1879, both on the West Ridge in the vicinity of Church & Wesley. The first destroyed the home of Northwestern University Professor Kistler — where firefighters lost the house but saved the furniture and library, and the other destroyed the palatial domicile of real estate king Charles Browne, the founder of North Evanston, although firemen once again saved the furniture and library, as well as two nearby homes. The fires of ‘79 caused much agitation within the EFD, as both companies demanded some form of financial compensation, as well as additional equipment (play-pipes and hose) and clothing (coats, gloves, and boots) from the village trustees.

The village board did subsequently acquire coats, gloves, and boots, but not enough for both of the companies. The trustees gave EFD Chief Bob Bailey, one-time foreman of Pioneer Hose Company No. 1, the job of allocating the gear, and (surprise!) all of it went to the Pioneers. As one might imagine, the Gilberts were not happy campers. The trustees then acquired a new play-pipe, and this time the Pioneers offered to stage a muster with the Gilberts at the town picnic on July 4th, with the winner to take possession of the new appliance. The Gilberts refused, probably because they did not want to establish the precedent of competing with the Pioneers for gear and equipment, so the Pioneers kept the play-pipe.

By failing to compete with the Pioneers at the picnic however, the Gilberts became a town joke. In an attempt to restore their dignity, the Gilberts challenged the Pioneers to a muster later that summer. The two companies agreed to meet (or “muster”) on the afternoon of August 21, 1879.

Several hundred enthusiastic spectators lined University Place on a very hot summer Thursday afternoon. Gambling was rampant, with several side-wagers amongst the firemen themselves. Despite completing the run in 63.5 seconds  and besting their own state record, the Pioneers were disqualified by the judges on a technicality. The Gilberts were awarded the upset victory. The Pioneers protested, claiming the local judges either did not understand state tournament rules, had been bribed, or both, but the Gilbert victory stood.

On December 31, 1880 (New Year’s Eve), the Pioneers and Gilberts engaged in a far more difficult contest, the second blaze to strike the opulent home of prominent village resident John H. Kedzie in seven years. As was often the case in cold weather, many firemen missed the alarm because they couldn’t hear the fire-bell with their windows closed. Those who did respond fought a long, hard battle against flames buried within the walls of the home, saving the furniture, but ultimately losing the house. Harry Housel, one of the members of Pioneer Hose Company No. 1, contracted a respiratory infection either during or shortly after this fire, an infection that eventually lead to his death by “consumption” (tuberculosis) at the age of 24 in April 1882, after the Pioneer Hose Company had disbanded.

The Kedzie fire seemed to light a fuse inside the fire companies, leading once again to demands for financial compensation and improved clothing and equipment for Evanston’s firefighters. After their pleas were ignored, the two hose companies resigned en masse on May 23, 1881. The era of volunteer firefighting in Evanston would end with a whimper.

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Evanston Fire Department history

This from Phil Stenholm:

Evanston Fire Department – The Origin of the Companies

Organized as a part-time (paid) fire company – July 28, 1883
Accepted for service – November 6, 1883
Established as a full-time (paid) company – June 5, 1888
Designated “Engine Co. 1” – June 1895
Re-designated “Engine Co. 21”- 1952

Organized as full-time (paid) hose company at Station #2 – June 6, 1892
Designated “Hose Co. 2” – January 1900
Re-designated “Truck Co. 2” – February 15, 1903
Re-designated “Engine Co. 2” – February 15, 1911
Re-designated “Engine Co. 22” – 1952

Organized as “Hose Co. 3” at Station #3 – January 31, 1901
Re-designated “Truck Co. 3” – July 1907
Re-designated “Engine Co. 3” – January 2, 1912
Re-designated “Engine Co. 23” – 1952

TRUCK Co. 21
Organized as ”Truck Co. 1” at Station #1 – February 15, 1903
Combined with Engine Co. 1 – January 2, 1912 Reorganized as “Truck Co. 1” – November 1917
Re-designated “Truck Co. 21” – 1952
Relocated to Station #3 and re-designated “Truck Co. 23” – 1990

TRUCK Co. 22
Organized as “Truck Co. 2” at Station #1 – September 1, 1924
Re-designated “Truck Co. 22” – 1952
Relocated to Fire Station #2 – March 12, 1955

Organized as “Engine Co. 4” at Station #2 – November 1927
Relocated to Station # 4 – December 31, 1927
Re-designated “Engine Co. 24” – 1952

Organized as “Engine Co. 5” at Station #1 – November 1927
Re-designated “Engine Co. 25” – 1952
Relocated to Station # 5 – September 3, 1955

TRUCK Co. 23
Organized as “Truck Co. 23” at Station #3 – September 3, 1955
Disbanded (personnel used to organize Squad Co. 21) – January 1, 1963
Truck Co. 21 relocated to Station #3/re-designated “Truck Co. 23” – 1990

SQUAD Co. 21
Apparatus placed in service (staffed only when needed) – September 1952
Organized as “Squad Co. 21” at Station #1 – January 1, 1963
Disbanded (apparatus staffed only when needed) – 1977


Organized – January 4, 1873
Chartered – January 6, 1873
Accepted for service – January 7, 1873 Designated “Pioneer Hose Company, No. 1” – December 1874
Disbanded (by mass resignation) – May 23, 1881

C. J. GILBERT HOSE COMPANY (volunteer) Organzied/Chartered – January 1875
Accepted for Service – August 6, 1875
Disbanded (by mass resignation) – May 23, 1881

EVANSTON HOOK & LADDER COMPANY (volunteer) Organized/Chartered – September 7, 1880
Accepted for Service – April 21, 1881
Disbanded (by Fire Marshal) – July 28, 1883

Orrganized – July 16, 1888
Disbanded (by Fire Marshal) – June 6, 1892
(Served with Village of South Evanston Fire Department prior to annexation of Village of South Evanston by Village of Evanston in 1892)

NORTH EVANSTON FIRE COMPANY (volunteer/auxiliary) Organized – October 1, 1888
Disbanded (by Fire Marshal) – January 31, 1901

So Truck Co. 22 (as it presently exists) was not actually organized until 1924. What is confusing about the bench is that Hose Co. 2 was re-designated Truck Co. 2 1902-1911 because the company operated with a 1902 Seagrave combination truck (light-duty H&L/chemical-engine/hose wagon) during that period of time, and then Truck Co. 2 was re-designated Engine Co. 2 in 1911 when the 1895 Ahrens steamer (the old Engine 1 that had been in reserve since 1906) was placed into service at Station #2 when sufficient manpower was finally hired to staff it.

Likewise, Hose Co. 3 was re-designated Truck Co. 3 in 1907 when the 1884 Davenport H&L (ex-Truck 1) was placed into service at Station #3, and then the company was re-deginated Engine Co. 3 in 1912 when the 1895 Ahrens steamer was placed into service at Station #3 (as the 1911 Robinson 700-GPM TCP was placed into service with Engine Co. 1 and the 1906 American LaFrance 700 GPM steamer formerly in service with Engine Co. 1 was moved to Station #2).


STATION #1 (807 Grove Street):

ENGINE 1 : 1911 Robinson 700-GPM TCP (automobile)
TRUCK 1: 1907 American-LaFrance 85-ft HDA (four horses)
CHEMICAL 1: 1873 Babcock double 50-gal chemical-engine (two horses)
CHIEF’S BUGGY (two horses)

STATION #2 (750 Chicago Avenue):

ENGINE 2: 1906 American LaFrance 700 GPM steamer (three horses)
TRUCK 2: 1902 Seagrave combination truck (H&L and chemical-engine), with hose box installed in 1907 (two horses)

STATION #3 (2504 West Railroad Avenue):

ENGINE 3: 1895 Ahrens 600 GPM steamer (two horses)
TRUCK 3 : 1884 Davenport H&L, with hose box installed in 1907 (two horses)

(The hose wagons at Stations 2 & 3 were taken out of service in 1907 when the trucks at those stations had hose boxes installed, providing four horses for the new aerial-ladder truck).

1918 APPARATUS (after motorization):


ENGINE 1: 1917 Seagrave 750 GPM TCP

TRUCK Co. 1:
TRUCK 1: 1917 Seagrave city-service H&L (no aerial-ladder)

ENGINE 4 (reserve): 1911 Robinson 750-GPM TCP

1917 Haynes automobile

ENGINE Co. 2 (two-piece company):
ENGINE 2: 1918 Seagrave tractor pulling 1906 American LaFrance 700 GPM steamer
TRUCK 2: 1917 Seagrave 300-GPM TCP

ENGINE 3: 1917 Seagrave 300-GPM TCP
NOTE: The 1907 American LaFrance 85-ft HDA that had been in service as Truck 1 was demolished in a collision with an Evanston Railway Co. street car at Grove & Sherman in 1916, and it was not replaced (the city had neglected to insure it for its replacement value). When the bond issue to motorize the Fire Dept. was originally framed in 1916 (prior to the H&L crash), the EFD was going to acquire a tractor for the H&L (justr as it did for 1906 American LaFrance steamer), but ended up getting a city-service truck (with no aerial ladder) instead.

The city purchased a Seagrave 85-ft TDA in 1924 after an NBFU inspection report said they had to have one. (This was the same report that recommended Station #4 be constructed at Dempster & Dodge).

The new Seagrave TDA became Truck 1, and the former Truck 1 (the 1917 Seagrave city-service truck) became Truck 2 as Truck Co. 2 was organized at Station #1 in September 1924. As I mentioned, Truck Co. 2 was supposed to be relocated to Station #4 on the west-side, but it never was.

NOTE: Two 1927 Seagrave Standard 1000-GPM TCP were purchased, Fire Station #4 was constructed, and the EFD was expanded from 61 to 82 firemen, after Evanston voters approved a bond issue in 1927 (following the Boltwood School fire in January) and the two new engines went into service as Engine 2 and Engine 5 (as Engine Co. 4 and Engine Co. 5 were organized), with Engine Co. 2’s former apparatus (plus furtniture, kitchen utensils, and personnel) going to the new Station #4.

Engine 4 (the tractorized steamer that was Engine 2 1918-27) was taken out of service in 1930 when the 300-GPM booster-pumper that ran with the steamer had a new 500-GPM pump installed at the Seagrave factory in Ohio.

Two Seagrave 750-GPM pumpers (the new Engine 1 & Engine 3) and one Seagrave 65-ft service aerial-ladder truck (the new Truck 2) were purchased after 1937 bond issue was passed by Evanston voters, with the old Engine 1 (1917 Seagrave 750-GPM TCP) going to Station #4 at that time.

A Seagrave 1000-GPM TCP was placed into service as Engine 1 in 1949, with the old Engine 1 (1937 Seagrave 750-GPM TCP) going to Station #4.

And then the Pirsch fleet was acquired in 1951-52 (Truck 1 in ’51, the other four in ’52), with the old Truck 1 tractor being converted to a Chicago FD-style high-pressure wagon (with large-diameter hose and a turret nozzle mounted mid-ship). This rig was known as Squad 22 while it was in service (1952-65).

The 1937 Seagrave 65-ft service aerial ladder truck (ex-Truck 2) was placed into serice as Truck 23 in 1955, but the company was disbanded and personnel was transferred to Squad 21 (which then went into full-service as a regular company) at the end of 1962 after the city council refused to appropriate funds to buy a new ladder truck for Station #3.

Two Seagrave 1000-GPM TCP open-cab engines (Engine 23 and Engine 24) were placed into service in 1958, replacing the two 1937 Seagrave 750-GPM TCPs which were then placed into reserve.

The Squad 21 rig (1952 Pirsch) was replaced in 1966. The city purchased an extra International-Harvester garbage truck chassis for the Fire Dept, and the chassis was sent to the General Body Co. in Chicago to be built as a squad-engine. A pump, water tank, and squad body was installed with hose beds (there were no hose beds on the ’52 Pirsch squad), as well as a turret nozzle, and a front-bumper mounted winch.

Squad 21 was the SS1 of the Evanston Fire Dept while it was in service in 1960’s and 70’s. It was first-due on just about everything, handling inhalator calls, car fires and trash fires, and engine details in Station 1’s still district, it went to all fires anywhere in the city, responded to pin-in extrication calls, and its manpower operated the DUKW (F-7) for rescues on Lake Michigan. It was going all the time.

The old Squad 21 (1952 Pirsch) had its squad body removed and replaced with a new standard pumper body in 1966 (its pump had almost never been used because it only carried a hose reel), and it was in front-line service for quite a long time as an engine, first as Engine 22 1966-70, and then as Engine 25 1970-76. Last time I was in Evanston (which was a few years ago) it was playground equipment in the park at the northwest corner of Asbury & South Blvd.

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