09/14/11 705 W, 4 I - + 7 - 6 The Pullman Fire Department

The Pullman Palace Car Company of Chicago built railroad cars from the 1860s to the 1950s. The company built a company town, Pullman, IL, in 1880. Located on 4,000 acres south of Chicago, it housed 6,000 employees and an equal number of dependents. The town had markets, churches, a library, and, of course, a fire department. Pullman was annexed into the city in 1898. Today, it's a Chicago neighborhood and a historic district. A number of the plant buildings still survive, including the fire station.

The Pullman Fire Department operated in a combination stable and fire station at 507-11 E. 112th Street. The one- and two-story structure was built in 1881. The fire department section was a two-story brick building with one bay.In 1896, the Pullman Fire Department truck company became Truck 27 of the Chicago Fire Department.

The members were not Chicago firefighters, but the truck responded to neighboring areas. In 1890, its personnel were replaced with city men. In 1903, the company relocated to an addition to Engine 62's quarters at 2603 E. 114th Street. See more photos.

Also protecting Pullman was an engine house at 623 E. 108th Street. Built in 1895, the two-story brick station opened with the newly organized Engine 80. The one-bay station included a four-story watch tower. The lot was leased from the Pullman Company, who also built the station. There was no boiler, and steam heat was provided by the Pullman Company. The building served as a fire station until 1957. It also housed Truck 27 for several months in 1927. The old station is present vacant, and is the only surviving Chicago firehouse with a watch tower. See more photos.



The Town of Pullman: It's Growth with Brief Accounts of its Industries by Mrs. Duane Doty, via Google Books.

The Pullman Fire Department consists of a marshal and eight paid men and two volunteers. There is a small volunteer company at Roseland having 600 feet of hose. The police force at Kensington take care of a hose cart of 1,000 feet of hose. Riverdale has a small volunteer company and 800 feet of rubber hose. The headquarters of our fire force are in the northeast corner of the Pullman stables. Here are found the hose cart and the hook and ladder truck and [horse] teams for taking the apparatus to a fire.

The second floor, over the offices and apparatus, contains ten beds, in which the firemen sleep. The good order and spotless cleanliness of these quarters always challenge attention. There are fifty-two Babcock fire extinguishers in the shops and public buildings, and the fire department has about 13,000 feet of serviceable hose. This includes hose kept in shops in large buildings, and it is frequently tested to ascertain its fitness for use.

We now have a fire-alarm circuit, a bell-alarm circuit and seven watch circuits. A fire-alarm system, with thirty or forty street boxes, would be an immense advantage here. The fire district now comprises Pullman, Kensington, Roseland, and Gano.

Fires in Pullman

Fifty-two alarms were turned in during 1890, and the runs made aggregate 96 1/2 miles, and the actual working time of the department was 37 hours and 35 minutes. In 1888 there were only 30 runs and 46 miles of travel to fires. The loss by fires in this district during 1890 was $151, 140, of which the loss in Pullman was about $50,000. The burning of the Terra Cotta Company's works and the destruction of the hammer shops, the lumber dry-kilns and the market are the only fires of any magnitude we have had in Pullman.

Rapidity of Work Here.

With the firemen all in bed, an alarm has been turned in, and in one minute and five seconds the horses have been hitched to the hose-cart and the apparatus taken 360 feet to the northwest corner of the Arcadae, 100 feet of hose coupled to the hydrant, and water thrown from it. The hitching of the horses from the stalls to the hose-truck is done in six seconds.

Read more in the eBook.

My great grand father Harry DenBesten served from 1891-1928. I have his badge and pictures, single and group. Looking for more info. Iím a retired firefighter 30 yrs from Streamwood Illinois and 5 years as a volunteer for Harvey Illinois
James Dykstra (Email) - 04/17/18 - 19:25

Remember personal info?

/ Textile

Comment moderation is enabled on this site. This means that your comment will not be visible on this site until it has been approved by an editor.

To prevent spam we require you to answer this silly question

  (Register your username / Log in)

Hide email:

Small print: All html tags except <b> and <i> will be removed from your comment. You can make links by just typing the url or mail-address.