Moments which have defined, shaped Elgin’s history

This marks the fifth and final installment in a series focusing on Elgin’s rich history.
By Jessie Reestman
Staff writer
July 3, 2021, is not only the day before we celebrate our country’s independence but also the day our community’s history makes its debut at the Evening at the Museum event. Attendees of the July 3 event will have the opportunity to revisit some of Elgin’s most influential moments in history.
Our history is full of fascinating and important events that have led to many changes in our community. Such instances include the devastating main street fires that occurred in 1895 and again in 1909 that led to the development of our first volunteer fire department.
According to information shared in a history book called Elgin on Parade, “a fire broke out about 1 a.m. the first of November, in the rear of Grant and Blazer’s Hardware. The fire burned one whole block of buildings, including the Elgin State Bank, with an estimated loss of $15,000. “
Unfortunately, just 14 years later, an even more disastrous fire swept through the community, destroying an entire block in less than two hours. Before the ashes were cold, plans for equipping a volunteer fire department were underway.
Assistant Fire Chief Greg Henn shared, “Elgin is very fortunate to currently have 30 well-trained firemen who volunteer their time and are ready to go at any given moment. Having a volunteer fire department is essential to our community because if other communities have to provide the service, time becomes a factor.”