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|Firehouse 3 Museum
700 Sixth Street
Racine, WI 53403
A Museum and Education Center Exploring the drama and danger of fire and fire fighting in Racine.
Racine Fire Bells
PO Box 081042
Racine, WI 53408-1042
Fire Fighting History in Racine - From the History of the Racine Fire Department published in 1992
1834 - Village of Racine Founded by Gilbert Knapp
January 1841 - One of the earliest reported fires in Racine - JO Bartlett Dry Goods Store Fire.
November 1841 - First Official Act to protect property from the hazards of Fire - Fire Wardens appointed.
January 1843 - First Organized Engine Company
February 1843 - First Organized Truck Company
August 1844 - Village of Racine authorized to purchase fire fighting equipment - four ladders, a like number of hooks, and the digging of Cisterns.
1846 - First Death by Fire in Racine - Mrs Marshal Strong, and her children perished in the Flames.
August 1848 - City of Racine Incorporated
October 1848 - Sidney Dickinson elected to Chief Engineer of the Racine Fire Department.
1849 - The City builds three fire stations - Engine House No. 1 at 162 Wisconsin Street, Engine House No. 2 at 45 Main Street, and Engine House No. 3 at 43 Seventh Street. Three hand pumpers also delivered - Engine 1 the Racine, Engine 2 the Fire King, and Engine 3 the Star of the West.
August 1854- Mutual Aid from Racine sent to Milwaukee by Boat. 180 fire fighters and three hand engines.
March 1856 - Racine Fire Department Incorporated
1862 - Law enacted compelling citizens to assist in fire fighting if so requested.
October 1867 - Racine's First Steamer "Gem of the Lake" purchased from the Silsby Company.
November 1879 - First Gamewell Telegraphic Alarm System Installed.
May 1882 - The Great Fire. This blaze destroyed everything from Root River south to 5th Street. One-Eighth of the total assessed value of the property in Racine went up in smoke. A significant turning point in the History of the Racine Fire Department.
November 1884 - Racine Fire Department orders its last fire steamer.
December 1884 - Blake Opera House Fire at Sixth & College Avenue.
December 1885 - Firemen's Relief Association organizated
September 1887 - Racine Water Works begins pumping water through new underground water mains with connections to over 300 fire hydrants.
1897 - First Police and Fire Commission Appointed.
January 1908 - First Pension plan went into effect for the firemen.
July 1908 - first Central Fire Station "Station 5" was opened and served as the department's headquarters until 1968.
December 1909 - Racine Manufacturing Company Blaze. Loss placed at $775,000 and 1200 men thrown out of work.
May 1910 - Trading Horse Power for Horsepower. First motorized piece of fire fighting apparatus purchased by the City.
November 1918 - Racine Fire Department completely motorized.
December 1931 - Racine Fire Fighters unionize and become affiliated with the IAFF.
July 1943 - First Full Time Rescue Squad placed in Service.
August 1946 - Fire Prevention Bureau created.
1950 - Fire Fighters went from an 84 hour work week to a 78 hour work week.
1951 - Racine Fire Department on the air - They receive FCC permission to operate on their own VHF radio frequency.
1952 - Work week reduced to 75 hours, 1953 work week reduced to 72 hours.
January 1968 - New Emergency Reporting Telephones Place in Service. Racine Public Safety Building - RFD Station 1 officially opened. Several companies combined at one location.
April 1969 - Racine Fire Department becomes a Class 1 Fire Department.
1974 - Emergency Medical Technician training is undertaken by fire fighters.
1985 - Hazardous Materials Response Team begins training for chemical emergencies.
June 1998 - First Paramedic Rescue Squad placed in service.
|What is History?
How are we affected by history? What happens if we forget the past? Simply
stated, today's events are tomorrow's history. History is a great teacher of
lessons. The fire service is one of the best examples of what history can do
for us. It teaches us that prevention is better than suppression. Yet without
the lessons learned through fire fighting, prevention would be meaningless.
Likewise the evolution of fire fighting to the highly technical skills of today
are the result of past mistakes, which sometimes were paid for through death
and permanant disability of a fire fighters.
History also gives us a sense of pride. Pride in being associated with one of the most noble professions known to mankind. Throughout the world, North America, South America, South Pacific, the Far East, Europe, the Soviet Union or anywhere you travel, when family, friends, or strangers are in dire need of medical, or fire fighting skills, fire fighters, both career, and volunteer respond to the call of duty. For hundreds of years fire fighters have earned a unique trust among our diversified population, a trust in that they, the fire fighters, are there to help, not hurt. Fire Fighters are entrusted with our most precious possessions - the preservation of life and property. To that end, Firehouse 3 Museum is dedicated to sharing the history of Fire Fighting in Racine with the Citizens of of Racine and Southeast Wisconsin. Here is our story...
Since the early days of the settlement of Racine, fire
protection has been on the minds of most residents in this community. Fire
protection has taken many forms. In the early days this meant that residents
all kept a bucket and a rope handy to be used in suppressing any fire that did
occur. As time went on the chore of fire protection moved from the hands of the
citizens in general to a group of people who would drill together periodically
so that they were somewhat more familiar with the techniques of fire fighting.
VISITORS are ALWAYS Welcome!! The Museum is open
Every Sunday except Holidays from 1:00 until 4:00 pm. Special tour arrangements
during the week can be made by calling (262) 634-6903 (Scott Tangerstrom) or
(262) 633-4305 (Wilber Tangerstrom). Group Tours please call ahead. Admission
|Last Update Sept. 17, 1999|| Web Site maintained by Steve
Copyright © Racine Fire Bells, Inc. 1999
Fire Buffs and Enthusiasts have visited this page since 9/17/99.