Historical Records

Fire Chief Edward SmithEdward Smith was appointed to succeed Davidson. Smith served fourteen years as chief until he resigned May 6, 1929.

Having organized a workable, effective force of firefighters, Fire Marshall Davidson resigned on May 21, 1915.


Record keeping was not as accurate as it is today with computers and all the technology. However, many notes were kept as events occurred. Listed are some of those kept. A brief notation of name and type of fire were the only things found in regards to information of the event.

Some of these notes however, may not make sense to all people reading this. A dry fire is where no water was used and a wet fire was when water was used.

  • November 6, 1915 - August Buethe
  • February 21, 1916 - Nolte, East Dundee
  • May 26, 1916 - Jack Masters
  • January 18, 1917 - Stern
  • February 12, 1917 - Carpentersville Grade School
  • May 19, 1917 - Edward Schwartz
  • April 4, 1918 - Albert Reske
  • June 25, 1918 - Jack Mason
  • December 24, 1918 - Max Jahnke
  • January 22, 1919 - Hubenbecker - chimney fire
  • July 24, 1919 - Charles Barkow
  • September 16, 1919 - Mrs. Plummer
  • January 6, 1920 - Fred Katz
  • February 16, 1920 - George Hill
  • November 12, 1920 - Gamble
  • December 1920 - Northwestern Railroad Car
  • December 1920 - VanSelow, dry fire
  • February 1921 - John Schumacher
  • February 1921 - WH. Schwartz
  • May 7, 1921 - Edwards Farm
  • August 11, 1921 - EC. Hookers
  • February 14, 1922 - Max Jahnke, chimney fire, dry fire
  • April 11, 1922 - Village Hall, dry fire
  • May 12, 1922 - Dave Hill, wet fire
  • January 11, 1923 - Hill Smith
  • February 21, 1923 - H.C. Edwards
  • April 14, 1924 - Frank Rossow, wet fire
  • June 1, 1924 - H.C. Edwards Estate
  • December 16, 1924 - Van Selow
  • January 11, 1925 - John Puff Paff, wet fire
  • March 8, 1925 - Livingston, dry fire
  • March 21, 1925 - Jahnke, dry fire
  • March 28, 1925 - grass fire, wet fire
  • March 31, 1925 - grass fire, wet fire
  • April 7, 1925 - grass fire, wet fire

These are just some of the things that went on during those early days. As time went on record keeping got better.

Grade School After a FireCarpentersville Grade School Fire

Perhaps the largest fire of the early days in Carpentersville was at the Carpentersville Grade School. The fire occurred on February 12, 1917. A locomotive engineer that was near the Borden Milk Factory, noticed smoke coming from South Washington Street.

He started blowing his whistle to attract someone’s attention. Firefighting efforts were hampered by extremely cold temperatures and windy conditions. Initial water lines froze, so hose was laid from the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company to the fire.

The fire caused extensive heat and fire damage. The school was later rebuilt and still stands today as the Larkin Home for Children.

Introduction of Hose Carts

Hose carts were a welcomed sight in the early 1900s. The carts were an improvement over what was being used at the time. The carts had two wheels with hoses that carried ladders, lanterns, ropes and axes.

Once at the hydrant, hoses were hooked up to a “Gandy Dancer.” This was a type of hand pump that was on the hose cart. The device was set in motion by the pumpman.

The hose carts were housed at the Village Hall and on Western Avenue (Route 31) on the property of Alice Schumacher. The hose carts were pulled by citizens or people that had horses.


As fires and other calls came in, the firemen needed a way to know that they had to respond to a fire. One of the ways was by ringing a 1000-pound bell with an eight-inch clapper that was mounted in the cupola of the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company. An employee would ring this when the fire department was needed. This bell was later replaced with a steam whistle also located at the factory.

Fireman Suits

It should be noted that in 1915 the price of eighteen sets of fireman suits was purchased for a total cost of $169.

Motorized Fire Truck

In March of 1920, a much-needed addition to the Carpentersville Fire Department was a motorized fire truck. After training on the new vehicle the Village Board realized that eighteen men were no longer necessary to pull the hose carts. The Board decided to reduce the force to eight men. The men who remained were:

Fire Engine in 1920

  • Ben Brammer
  • EC. Hooker
  • Harry Nelson
  • Harry Peterson
  • EC. Pundt
  • Ennes Schartow
  • Walter Schumacher
  • Edward Smith

The hose carts were bought by the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company and kept on their property.