The Chicago Firemen’s Monument.

The Chicago Firemen’s Monument.

Soon after the great fire on Lake street in 1857, the question was agitated by the Firemen’s Benevolent Association at Chicago for the erection of a monument in Rosehill Cemetery in memory of the many brave men whose lives were sacrificed in the performance of their duty. Numerous designs for the proposed monument were handed in to the President of the Association, but no action was taken, and the matter dropped until 1863, when it was again taken up and designs invited by the committee, and after a spirited contest between a number of competitors, the design submitted by the eminent sculptor, Leonard W. Volk, was adopted and the contract awarded to him. The design, as shown by the accompanying illustration, may be described as follows:

Total height 40 feet; breadth of base, 22 feet, all executed trom the finest Carrara (Italy) marble, except first base, which is of the Lockport (N. Y.) granite. A life-size statue of a Fireman surmounts the column, with trumpet in hand, in a attitude of listening, as he halts to ascertain the direction of the tire. A Fireman still in the service of the Fire Department, of athletic form, posed to the sculptor of the clay model. The material for the work was carefully selected at New York city by the designer. The monolithic column was got out in Italy to serve as one of the columns of the new State House at Columbia, S. C., but was taken from a captured blockade runner and sold under confiscation. The upper part of the pedestal is composed of a hose-reel, serving as a base for the column, and the pedestal itself is ornamented with bas-reliefs of a Fire Engine, Hose Carriage* Hook and Ladder Truck, and a representation on its point pinnacle of the great fire on Lake street (where 23 brave men lost their lives), with Fireman’s seal, wreaths, trumpets, axes, lamps, hose-pipes, and just above a length of hose is wound around the base of the elegant Doric column. The entire work was completed and duly dedicated In 1864 by the Firemen’s Benevolent Association, at a cost of about $15,000. It is undoubtedly the finest Fireman’s monument in the United States, and reflects (treat credit, not only on Mr. Volk, but on the association that erected it. Perhaps a few words as to how the Association was organized will not be amiss. It dates back to the year 1847, when Chicago was in its merest infancy, and such a thing as a Paid Fire Department was not thought of. The entire Department then consisted of “ Pioneer ” Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, ” Fire King” Engine Company No. 1, and “ Metamora” Engine, Company No. 2. John M. Turner was then Chief Engineer. The members paid 25 cents annually as dues, which entitled them to all the benefits of the Association. Three dollars made them life members. The Association prospered with the growth of our city, and from liberal donations by our citizens as tokens of appreciation for heroic deeds.


In 1863 a charter was applied for and granted by the State, which empowered them to elect twenty Trustees to transact the business of the Association. Also, that the sum of forty thousand dollars be kept as a permanent fund, and the Interest accruing therefrom to be applied for the relief of its members. In 1865 the total assets of the Association were sixty-one thousand, eight hundred and n nety-three dollars and ninety-seven cents ($61,893.97). In the same year they donated to the Home of the Friendless $600, Protestant Orphan Asylum $600, and Catholic Orphan Asylum $600, besides relieving their own members, and have continued to do so yearly when their finances permitted, which shows that men not only of integrity but of firs-class business qualifications have had the handling of the Association’s finances, enabling them to not only erect the elegant column to the memory of their comrades, but to establish a monument for themselves in the estimation of all those whose interests they have so ably and conscientiously managed. The present assets of the Association are about $48,000, exclusive of the monument and lots, which are included in the amount mentioned above, and are valued at $15,000. The officers of the Association are as follows :

President, George H. Laflin; Vice-President, T. E. Courtney ; Treasurer, T. E. Miller; Secretary, D. J. Sweenie.

STANDING COMMITTEES FOR 1878.—Finance —T. E. Courtney, C. Stose, P. Smith, L. Walter, T. Buckley. Membership—J. Schank, D. J. Sweenie, G. Atzel. Relief, South Division—C. Stose, A. Berg, J. M. Reis. Relief, West Division—T. E. Courtney, P. Smith, L. Haas. Relief, North Division—L. Walter, J. Swenie, J. Riley.

BOARD OF Trustees.—Charles Stose, L. Haas, J. Schank, T. Buckley—Term expires 1879; L. Walter, George Atzel, J. Schreiner, Peter Smith—Term expires 1880 ; T. E. Miller, A. Berg, J. M. Reis, J. Swenie—Term expires 1881 ; D. J. Swenie, T. E. Courtney, W. Wacter, P. J. Gross—Term expires 1882; George H. Laflin, John Wagonbergcr, George W. Hannis.John Riley—Term expires 18S3.

WE have half a dozen bound copies of Volj urae I. of the JOURNAL left which will be sent I to those desiring them on the receipt of the i price, $3. It makes a very handsome book, i and is full of matter of great value to Firemen, 1

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