Glimpse of the Past: Hillsboro Fire Department Marks 130 Years of Service

Glimpse of the Past, 20 March 2014

Hillsboro Fire Department Marks 130 Years of Service

Hillsboro's Hook & Ladder Company No. 1 was organized June 6, 1883, and Hillsboro's Engine Company No. 1 was organized in 1885, and on October 25, 1885 the two units combined to organize the Hillsboro Fire Department. 

The location of the first fire department was on the SW corner of Gould and South Waco Streets, site of the current Hillsboro Public Library. Soon the fire department moved to 116/118 East Franklin and in 1909 relocated to the new City Hall constructed at 127 East Franklin Street. This Prairie-style building, in the photo below in 1910, was constructed by Hillsboro voters for $25,000 and the horse-drawn wagons operated from this location until motorized fire trucks were purchased by the city. One of these, a 1929 Seagraves, is currently under final stages of restoration.

The early water source for the Hillsboro Fire Department was two cisterns located on the east and west sides of the Courthouse. Rain water was channeled to these cisterns from an elaborate system of gutters installed from the Courthouse to the cisterns.

In 1885 the newly-organized Hillsboro Fire Department selected H.P. Harrington from the Hook & Ladder Company as Chief Engineer (Fire Chief) and T.J. HOlland from the Engine Company as Assistant Chief.

The first secretary was O.W. Williams and W.D. Knox served as first treasurer. Six additional delegates were elected, including George Charmichael (later president of Citizens National Bank and chief donor of land to Hillsboro City Park [Abbott’s Grove]) and Terrell G. Hawkins (later President of Sturgis National Bank and Board Chairman of Citizens National Bank).

Hillsboro Fire Department history