From the Hoosier State.
(From Our Regular Correspondent.)
The suspense is over. Finally after months of debating and “ referring ” the council has accepted the Wing & Malnirin design for the new city and fire department building. The design when carried out will result in a very substantial building 66 x 132 feet, built from Bedford stone and finished with all the modern embellishments and furnished in the highest style of the art. The front will be occupied by the clerical department of the city in company with the legal and other branches of the municipal government. The second floor front, proper, will be used for a council chamber, while the basement will be used as a station house. The rear part in the background will be the headquarters of the fire department, and will be 66 x 45 feet, and in which on the first floor will be housed the apparatus, which will consist of one steamer, hook and ladder truck and hose wagon. Room is provided for the care of six horses and in addition accomodations will be arranged for the chief’s rig. The second floor will of course be used for sleeping rooms, parlors, etc., and will be in keeping with the remainder of the building, comfortable and modern to the slightest detail. In the rear of the sleeping rooms will be a room for storage, hay, etc. The estimate calls for a building to cost between $25,000 and $30,000. but as estimates are not always reliable the cost may exceed that figure. After bitter and extended competition, the plans of Wing & Mahurin of Fort Wayne, Ind., were accepted over those of six competitors. The erection of the building will begin immediately, and before the sunny days of autumn the boys expect to occupy their new quarters. I he location is just one square west of the Public square, and geographically in the centre of the city, being on the corner of Walnut and Washington streets, two leading thoroughfares.
Any articles descriptive of fire department matters in Kokomo would be incomplete was a sketch of the two principal fire department officers neglected, and whose familiar faces appear herewith. The chief, D. L. Duke, enlisted in fire department work way back in the “ sixties,” or, to be exact, April 15, 1868, and has been in continuous and active service ever since then, and has filled every position from bucket boy with squirt-gun brigade up to chief of one of the best departmmts of its size anywhere. His steps of promotion in detail are as follows: Hook and ladder man with the volunteer brigade, then with Hose Company No. 1, and then as foreman of that company for ten years continuously, thence to chief of the volunteer department, and now and for two years past chief of the paid department, being four years chief of the volunteers and paid department. A standing enigma to the boys is, why such a good looking man should be a bachelor, and although, managing to exist somehow without ihc (so-called) better half, it is of his own choice, because he is amply able to take care of the other half, being one of our wealthy and successful business men and the principal of the largest insurance and real estate agency in the city, that of D.. L. Duke & Co. Under his guidance as chief, the total fire loss of the city during two years of paid department regime was $44,945.32, with an insurance of $3i,733-32. leaving the net loss to the city but $13,212. Considering the fact that this city in that time has grown so wonderfully, having now a population of 15,000 and every residence using natural gas, coupled with the fact that we have more than a half hundred factories using a tremendous volume of the vapor, and, too, the fact that the chief has only had the services of four men at his disposal (that being the entire department), and that handling but one piece of apparatus, a hose wagon, he has a record of which any man might w^ell be proud,and which record is so far as we know unequaled in fire annals. This vast amount of work having been done without any one being injured beyond a few unavoidable bumps, is made the more remarkable.
With the occupancy of the new engine house the department will be augmented by new apparatus, which will be the more effectual by reason of a new electric alarm to be erected this summer. The chief has his hobby, like all of us, and in his instance it goes out toward horses, of which he is both a lover and good judge. He generally has a couple which are unsurpassed locally either for looks or speed.
Captain Charles Waggaman, whose portrait accompanies this sketch, was likewise an old volunteer in the days when the boys run with the machine, entering service with Hose Company No. 2 on October 15, r883, in which he served as foreman for several years, and with the organization of the paid department his services were recognized by a promotion to captain of the company.
Personally he is one of the most wholesouled, companionable, cool-headed firemen Kokomo has ever had. Having the best interests of his men always in mind and while a strict disciplinarian in all that the word implies, his methods used in controlling the men cannot be excelled, being wholly without threats or harsh language, and as a result the boys respect him and never knowingly disregard his wishes. This peculiar trait in government could be well copied by some other fire departments that we know of. His word, however, is law, and both the bystanders and his men know that it means business at a fire, and to this orderly method and rapid work is in a large measure due the remarkable fire record of the Kokomo Fire Department. His coolness in time of danger has served him well, as to that alone is due his immunity from serious injuries and his thoughtfulness has been a safeguard for his men. He is a young man in years, and is blessed with a winsome and lovable wife and pretty baby, and of course has his hobby, which is a good dog and gun. llis two years as captain in the paid department have not been marred by a single error in the seventy battles waged with the “ king of terrors,” the “red fiend.” OCCASIONAL.
KOKOMO, IND.. March 25.