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Renovating Aurora's Old Central Fire Station
A history of changes • 1894 article describing the new station
Blog • Photos • News coverage of the 2000-2003 renovation
Article from the 1894 opening of the
Old Central Fire Station
The Aurora Daily Beacon News
Aurora Illinois, Monday November 19, 1894
IS A $10,000 BEAUTY
The New North Broadway Hose House
and Police Patrol Building
The Public Inspected It Saturday Afternoon and
Were Not Sorry They Had Helped Pay For It.
One morning a short time ago, when a BEACON man dropped into the structure near the foot of Main Street, used as a hose house, he found the members of the department circled closely around the stove, endeavoring to keep warm. The task seemed hopeless, as the wind whistled through the countless crevices and as it was raining there were numerous drizzling streams coming down through the sieve which took the place of a roof, and life was being made miserable for the occupants of the shell. But they were happy, for only a few steps away the new building for their use was rapidly approaching completion. They were filled with joyous anticipation of the comfort which should be theirs when once they were ensconced in their splendid new quarters.
Today, they are exceedingly happy, for the beautiful and commodious building stands completed, a model of its kind and a home of which they may justly feel proud. If there are any finer structures for the purpose in the state of Illinois, Aurora people don't know where they are located. In respect to cost, finish, appearance, convenience and good taste, there is nothing additional to wish for. The building, which everybody has watched grow to its present graceful proportions, might be the pride of any city. It stands on the site of the old No. 1 house and patrol barn, which had come to be as disgraceful shanties as public buildings ever degenerate into and the improvement in that particular spot of Broadway is wonderful.
The combination feature of the structure is what is seldom found in buildings of the kind. The original plans were drawn in the rough by Alderman George James, chairman of the police committee of the council, and were practically followed by architect, J. E. Minott. The contract for the building was let to Nicholas Frisch, an Aurora contractor and builder, for $9,040, and the heating apparatus, and a few other extras will swell the total figure to about $10,000.
The painting has been done by George H. Cassidy. Bigler & Danahy furnish all the hardware and metal work. Zack & Mylius have done the plumbing, and Corbett & Stadler have supplied the steam boiler and heating outfit. The committees on the fire and water and police have done a great amount of hard work in pushing the matter to a successful completion and have saved the city nearly or quite $2,000. The chairman of these committees are Aldermen John Coughlin and George James, the latter being member of both.
The building is a fine two-story brick structure, surmounted at the front with a mosque like tower, from the apex of which stretches a flag staff,.and on this the national colors floated proudly in Saturday's breeze and sunshine. At the rear is a box shaped tower, 55 feet high, for drying and washing hose. The center space, on the first floor front, is occupied by a small room for the use of the patrol driver and police. This will be furnished by Denney & Denney. A few feet back of it is a handsome stairway, in the rear of which are ten lockers, with another under the stairs.
The north apartment will be occupied by the patrol wagon and a hook and ladder truck, while on the south side will be the other hook and ladder truck, a hose cart, and the chemical engine. Back of these are eight stalls for horses, four on each side, with two extra stalls still further back on the south side. In the rear is the big boiler room, occupying the northeast corner, while opposite is a back stairway leading to the second floor. A water closet and such cupboards as are necessary are also on this floor. The two brass sliding poles reaching down from the upper story are in the front corners.
The second floor is admirably arranged. The chief of the fire department has a fine room at the front center, with large sleeping rooms on either side, the latter fitted with the requisite number of lockers. There are separate bath rooms for the police and firemen. Light is admitted through six skylights, and a big center shaft affords both light and ventilation. In the rear of this floor is a roomy hay loft and an oat bin which will hold several hundred bushels. Every bit of room is utilized, and in all respects the building is one of the utmost convenience. The finish is admirable, and its appearance, inside and out, is attractive. Over the three front entrances, in the big cut stone caps, are the letters A. F. D., so that no one need mistake the character of the building.
The department moved out of the old buildings July 17, and work was begun on the foundation of the new one shortly after. The departments hope to get moved today.
North-side interior of the Old Central Fire Staion, circa 1906