When the Gong Rings

E-BOOK VERSION

COMPILED BY HOWARD TAYLOR  2016

FIRE HISTORY FOR CHARLESTON, ILLINOIS   

Starting 1878 and Going Through 1985

From the Collection of Chief Melvin Taylor, Deceased

The Brass Gong Used for years to announce incoming Telephone alarms, and in 1874, was attached on the Babcock fire wagon to announce the rushing of the wagon down the street.

 

Fireman Mel Taylor pictured above engineering the '38 Boyer at a fire scene. He was a . member of the Charleston Fire Department from 1948 until 1985, and would serve as Fireman, Captain, Assistant Chief and Chief 

        

Original Book By: Howard B. Taylor, 1994
Web Page Started, June of 1998 & Updated in September, 2017

      THIS WEBSITE HAS BEEN RUNNING SINCE 1998.  I HAVE GONE THROUGH ALL MY HISTORICAL AND EDUCATIONAL SITES SINCE SEPTEMBER, 2016, AND JUST FINISHED THE CFD SITES AND LINKS.  IT IS RUNNING PRETTY SMOOTHLY.  HAVE A GOOD TIME LOOKING FOR FIRE HISTORY

 

The Story Begins
      Charleston is a city of 20,000 in Central Illinois.  Since the 1890's the city has served as home for Eastern Illinois University.  The Fire Department at Charleston has a long history.  My father, Chief Taylor, served for them since the inception of the first professional "Civil Service" department of 1949.  He retired in 1985 and died in 1990.   During his career as firefighter, captain, assistant chief and chief, the chief collected historical items including news clippings, pictures, memorabilia, and  carefully sealed all in envelopes.  After his death of a "big" heart attack in April of 1990, I opened each and discovered an orderly history of the department since 1875.  What especially interested me was the references and pictures of the fire horses and the Babcock hook and ladder.  The horses names were Tom and Alex, according to a 1940's Charleston Daily News report by reporter Lee Lynch.
     I would like to share some of the pictures and a few of the stories of the history of this small town fire department.  Many "great fires" occurred in Charleston, but the interesting stories are in the daily activities and personalities