Firefighters Monument

Leonard Wells Volk, written about in the two previous blogposts, is not only buried in the Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois, but two of the monuments he designed are also in the cemetery. 

As you drive through the main gate toward the Our Heroes Monument and look to the right, you can see the 40-foot-tall white Carrara marble monument built to honor Chicago volunteer firefighters.

Volk entered his design in an heated competition.  Many designs were entered in the contest and considered but the Firemen’s Benevolent Association committee chose Volk’s.  The monument was erected in 1864 at the cost of $15,000 remains an inspirational commemoration and memorial to firefighters. 

Atop the Doric column stands a vigilant firefighter holding a trumpet to sound the call to action. 

At its base is a firehose wrapping its way round the column.  The four corners of the memorial display old-style fire hydrants.  Three of the four panels on the lower part of the monument depict bs-reliefs of old-style fire hand-pump fire engine and hook and ladder trucks.  The fourth panel depicts a scene of firemen fighting the conflagration on Lake Street where 23 firefighters lost their lives. Unfortunately, all but one of the panels is very badly eroded.

The memorial commemorates the firefighters who were killed in the line of duty and a granite marker at the base of the monument lists their names and the year they died in the line of duty.

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