Day 86: Chicago Fire Department Relief Columns

This structure located outside of the Midway Airport Fire Department, Engine 127, is a combination of architectural artifacts that were salvaged from Chicago Fire Houses that have since been demolished.  Uptop is the limestone lintel inscribed “Chicago Fire Department” that was saved from the main doorway of Engine Company #103.  The columns house terra-cotta reliefs that were originally installed on the facade of Hose Company #1 of Lakeview which was constructed in 1886.  In September 1889 this firehouse joined with Engine Company #55 of the Chicago Fire Department after Lakeview officially voted to join the city of Chicago.

Each panel depicts fire fighting tools hand carved in the terra-cotta.  Along with those tools, hoses and ladders are interwoven throughout which is suggestive of vines growing on a trellis.  This is all placed against a background of laurel leaves, which is symbolic of honor.  Lastly, overlaid atop are fire helmets and axes which integrate a heraldic crest. 

The structure was installed by the Chicago Public Art Program.
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