Roots rich in history, living for today, branching out for tomorrow.

St. Clair Fire Dept. History

The first notation regarding an organized Fire Dept. was on December 12, 1890, when a newspaper stated that "The St. Clair Fire Dept. held it's regular meeting and the company is now out of debt and has a good clear record.  They will invest in a windmill soon."  In March of 1891 there is a notation that "Some of the real smart people (and there are a few of that class) pulled a bolt out of the Fire Co.'s pump and let the plunging rod drop down so far that it cannot be reached.  Andy Quinn with his well tools has been at work several days trying to reach it but has been unsuccessful."  Another notation states:  "On a Monday evening in 1902, at half past nine, the rapid "tap-tap" of the fire bell alarmed the citizens of St. Clair.  Everybody caught up a pail and ran.  A bucket brigade was quickly formed and with pails of water and vigorous chopping with an axe the fireman soon had the fire at the home of Sumner Hilton under control."

In May of 1911 Charles O'Connor and Jake Chase were chosen to select a site on which to erect the fire house and water tank.  They endeavored to buy a lot west of the McPherson Town Hall.  In August of 1911 Griffith and Walker of Zion City, Illinois arrived in St. Clair.  They had the contract for the sinking of the Village well.  The contract for the erection of the steel tower and water tank to hold 50,000 gallons was awarded to the Des Moines Bridge and Iron Co., at $4,100.  The contract for the excavation of the water pipes was awarded to W.P. Lovell and Co., of St. Paul.  In November a special meeting was held of the Village Council to accept the City well at a depth of 232 feet.  The test of 48 hours of steady pumping, throwing 120 gallons per minute did not lower the water.  The water was of good quality and came within 31 feet of the surface.  It was felt that the St. Clair water system would be one of the best in the country and would in all probability be completed by December 1, 1911.  It has served us well!

At a firemen's meeting held in the spring of 1912, the following officers were elected:  President, Charles O'Connor; Secretary, George Hubmer; Vice President, George Hussey; Treasurer' Charles Pagenkopf; Chief, Henry Lubke; Assistant Chief, William Boswell and Chairman Finance Committee, Henry Thielman.  The organization had a membership of 25.  On July 15, 1912, the St. Clair Fire Dept. was called out and this was their first experience fighting fire with their new apparatus since the water works system had been completed.  Quick work on the part of the firefighters soon had the fire at A.E. Near's barn under control.  At a special meeting in June of 1913, the Fire Dept. decided to have the department practice once a week.  On July 25 the same year the fire bell arrived and was installed on the Village windmill tower immediately!

On April 8, 1914, the Catholic Church, which was a wooden structure burned.  As the fire hydrants were too far away, the Fire Dept. could do little to save the building. 

St. Clair was given the new "Village Hall" on December 27, 1921.  The building was 30' wide X 60' long and 20' high; heated by a pipeless furnace and supplied with water and electric lights. It was two stories high.  The first floor had five apartments.  A long room, which extended the full length of the hall on the west side, was used as the fire station.  It gave a warm, dry room to hold all of the fire implements. 

In April of 1923, a vote for a "water bond" was defeated thus the availability of fire protection was still limited to only a few residents of the City.

Over the years the Fire Dept. has served the community well.  A new Chevrolet fire truck was purchased in 1955. In 1973 another new fire truck was purchased at the cost of $10,500.  The truck was an all-purpose vehicle with a 1,500-gallon tank on it plus manyother types of equipment.  Lyle Splinter was the Fire Chief at the time.  The annual "Fireman's Dance" was a huge fund raising event for many years and helped purchase equipment for the department.

In 1974 the City built a new City Hall and a Fire Hall was included in the project. This City Hall/Fire Dept.was built on the lot, which formerly was the location of the Creamery, at 304 Main Street West.
 
City of St. Clair ~ Phone: 507-245-3494 ~ Fax: 507-245-3504 ~ E-mail: citystc@hickorytech.net