Do you remember the noon fire whistle in O’Fallon?
The mid-day blowing of the siren atop the Washington Street fire station was once a staple of life in our town. But did you know it didn’t start out at noon or on top of the fire station?
The siren was originally on the roof of the First National Bank building at 101 W. State (now the history museum) and blew at 10 p.m. as a daily test. That went on until May 1951, when a chorus of sleep-deprived residents prompted Fire Chief Elton Dressel to ask the City Council to move the testing time to noon when, presumably, most people were awake. It also helped the firefighter who happened to be on siren duty in the winter. If it failed to blow in freezing weather, he had to climb to the roof at night to thaw it out. Now he could thaw it in daylight.
75 years ago April 23, 1942
A 10 p.m. blaze occurred at the State Theatre (122 E. State) when a celluloid film ignited in the fire-proof projection booth while it was being shown to the usual Sunday night audience. Operator Ed Creed succeeding in keeping the flames confined to the film but not until three reels had been consumed. He suffered from effects of nitric acid fumes but escaped burns. The audience was unaware of the blaze until the interior of the theater became illuminated with a reddish hue. The patrons filed out in an orderly manner within two minutes. The blaze was under control by the time the fire department arrived. The theater reopened Monday night. It was a double feature, “The Feminine Touch” and the last showing of “Sundown.”
50 years ago April 20, 1967
The Hi-Hoofers 4-H Club met Monday evening at the Tally-Ho Stables with 11 members present. President Vernon Hamm presided with the program being presented by Nancy James on “Disease Problems of Horses.” Deanne Hocher gave a demonstration on how to tie up a horse.