The Hinckley Fire District traces its roots back to 1890, when the first volunteer fire department was organized. A faded sheet of paper in an old fire department record book has the following recorded:
"We, the undersigned, enroll ourselves as charter members of the Hinckley Fire Department, Hook and Ladder No. 1:
W.A. Garrett, Fred Jurries, H.W. Fay, Alphie J. Coster, C.A. Schneider, Willett Fay, D.C. Green, J.I. Kuter, W. Cash, Oscar Ramer, T. Domity, Jacob Biehl, W.M. Potter, S.W. Wallis, John Turpin, Wm. Flanagan, Will Misner, Frank Gibson, J.B. Pogue, J.W. Myers, F. Leinarer, Ord Myers.
They had two hose carts (one of which, shown here, is on display in the current fire station), buckets and two ladders. These carts were hand-pulled.
More old pictures are available in our Picture Gallery.
During school hours on April 17, 1890, the Hinckley Grade School building caught fire. An old hand pump was used, as well as the hose carts. The pump was pulled by horses, and one of the firefighters, William Wilkening, the blacksmith, fell in front of the apparatus and it ran over him, killing him. As far as we can tell, he is the only firefighter killed in the line of duty in Hinckley.
This is the roster from 1910. William Rees was chief.
This document is a sign-up sheet to vote on the purchase of war stamps, to aid in the effort during World War I.
Here is an early pay sheet from 1917.
In 1936, the Hinckley Fire District was formed. Originally called Squaw Grove Fire District (after the township), this formed a separate taxing body from the Village, and allowed incorporation of the rural farms around Hinckley. The District purchased the fire hose from the Village for $275. They also purchase a new, motorized fire apparatus. This GMC "Jimmy" is a Model T-18, with a National fire body. National was based in Galesburg, Illinois, and built nearly all their fire apparatus on International Harvester trucks. They paid $3900 for this truck, fully equipped. This picture was taken in front of Christensen's Garage, on Lincoln Avenue, now Tom Sparks Chevrolet. The old barn was not suitable for storing this equipment, so the Fire District rented space from Mr. Christensen until a station was built in 1961. Mr. Christensen was also a volunteer firefighter, and served the District for over 50 years until his retirement in 1992.
On July 25, 2002, our fire station was struck by lightening. To view the history of the department after this event, along with pictures of that day, go to Page 2.