The 150th Anniversary of the Aurora Fire Department, Aurora Illinois

Running' Wid De Masheen --
Young America Fire Co.

After several large fires and years of discussion, the Aurora City Council established a fire company in the summer of 1856. The name "Young America Fire Company No.1" was chosen, officers and a uniform were selected, and land was donated on North Broadway to construct an engine house. A fire engine, hose reel, and 500 feet of hose were ordered from Wright & Bros. of Rochester N.Y.

On October 4, 1856, the new engine arrived. The "masheen," as it was called in one newspaper account, was described as "A beautiful sight to behold!" The box (body) was mahogany with gilded moldings. The words "Young America" draped in the American flag were painted on the front. The accompanying hose cart was painted red with brown striping.

A large crowd gathered to watch the new engine demonstrated. The suction hose was placed in the mill channel and the men stationed themselves along the pumping arms. The Foreman gave the order, "Play away, boys," and a beautiful stream of water was sent far above the cupola of the mill.

In the Fall of 1856, Aurora's newspapers were filled with news of the new handpumer...

Aurora Beacon --
September 23, 1856

The foundation of the Engine House was laid some time ago but it was found that part of it was on another lot and had to be taken in a few inches. (Constructed on a lot given by Samuel McCarty) E. G. Fowler appointed to ring the bell when engine arrives in town.

Aurora Beacon --
Monday, October 6, 1856

Young America Engine arrived in Aurora, Saturday, October 4th at noon. First test Monday, October 6th. It was taken to the race in front of Stolp's factory where numerous spectators collected to witness the first trial of the first fire engine in Aurora. When the order "play away boys" was given, a large beautiful stream of water was raised far above the cupola of the factory in the face of a strong wind. For more than an hour the machine underwent a series of trials and in every instance proved itself equal to the test - a first class fire engine. It is a crane neck, piano box, large wheels, 22 foot folding brakes, 9 inch cylinders, 9 inch stroke, polished shaft and center. The box is mahogany, finished gilt moldings and in front is an elegant painting of the words "Young America" draped with the national ensign. The trucks are painted red, striped with dark brown.

Aurora Beacon --
Tuesday, October 7, 1856

Machine tested again and found very acceptable. Through the length of 500 feet of hose, a one inch stream of water was thrown 30 to 40 feet above the four story Odd Fellows Hall. The grade from the river to the building was also an additional 25 feet raise.

Aurora Guardian --
Thursday, October 9, 1856

Engine arrived last Saturday. Young America Fire Company Number 1 took it out in the afternoon and gave it a trial. Two streams of water were thrown at once considerably higher than Stolp's factory and the boys seemed well pleased with the result. On Monday evening at a regular meeting the Company passed a resolution recommending the acceptance by the Board of Trustees; which was done on Tuesday.

An Engine House is being erected on Broadway, where it will be duly housed in the course of two or three weeks. Mr. Wright accompanied the engine to Aurora and was well received by the Firemen and citizens. He is pleased with our town and our fire company - says he has never seen its superior. Now if our West Aurora friends will follow suit, the fire bell will not have half the terror in it.

Aurora Guardian --
Thursday, November 28, 1856

Parade of Young America Company with beautiful machine and hose cart yesterday headed by Aurora Cornet Band. Bright uniforms and large number made imposing appearance. The Company is composed of the very flower of Aurora, embracing mast of the prominent businessmen in town. Pratt took a picture of Company when opposite his gallery in Odd Fellows Hall. In the evening, a Grand Ball took place at the Concert Hall. Supper at Aurora House - Mofatt and King furnished a bountiful repast. Yesterday was a day of history in Aurora.

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