The City of Crawfordsville, Indiana

Small City... Big Possibilities

CFD History

History of the Crawfordsville Fire Department 

CFD History Green Street

On the morning of December 23, 1868 a fire was reported in downtown Crawfordsville, which was thought to have started in Patterson’s Book Store and Jewelry Store. The fire spread to Krout’s Drug Store, the Journal Building and Fry’s Drug Store. Within two hours of the flames starting, an entire block near the courthouse was leveled.

After this disaster the Crawfordsville Journal called attention to the need for fire protection, and in January of 1869 a meeting was held to discuss the organization of a fire department.

Subscriptions were solicited from property owners and the volunteer/subscription-based Niagara Fire Company was formed in that same year. The department was completely staffed by volunteers and the first fire engine was purchased from Terre Haute, Indiana with the name “Niagara” already painted on the engine. Because of that, the name stuck. At first, the company was housed in various barns until a second engine was purchased in 1872 and the new City Building and Fire Station was built at 117 N. Green Street in 1873. 

Many were involved in the fire company on a volunteer basis, but most notably was General Lew Wallace who was known to lend assistance to the men of the Niagara Fire Company.

Lew Wallace

In 1874 the second rescue company was formed with a used piston driven hand pumped fire engine. The engine was with ropes and manpower and housed at a station built at Water and College.

Rescure #2

Additionally, these companies were formed:

  • The Hook and Ladder Company: The company was housed in the Green street station and formed in 1883;
  • The Court House Hose Company: a jockey pump and a few hundred feet of hose housed in the courthouse basement in 1882; and
  • Central Fire Company: a one hose wagon formed in 1882.

In 1888, the Crawfordsville Fire Department was established and made up of regular, paid firemen, and “minute men” volunteers that worked in the downtown area and could respond to emergencies at a minute’s notice. Minute men were eventually removed in 1897 after the city invested in a water works system and fire hydrants that could pump 2 million gallons of water a day. Minute men were no longer needed for water supply support during fires.

In 1906, the East End Station was built on College Street, the current site of Atco Rubber, and staffed with up to 6 firefighters at a time. The station was closed in 1935 when all fire equipment and crews were consolidated to the new City Building at Water and Pike Streets.

Fire Station East End

The new City Building opened in 1933 and housed all city services including the fire, police, water, gas and electric departments as well as the Mayor and Clerk’s offices. The new department bays were built to accommodate the new gas-powered equipment. At the time, the fire department only occupied 2 bays and had a much smaller footprint in the building.

City Building 30s

The city building station was completely converted to solely house the fire department in 19XX and a temporary second station was added in 1978 to give added coverage to the east side of the city. The temporary second station was used for 39 years before the current Station 2 completed construction in 2017.

Contact Us

100 S Water St
Crawfordsville, IN 47933
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  • Staff Directory
  • Monday-Friday
    8:30 am-4:30 pm
    The station is staffed 24 hours a day.

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