This looking back features the Urbana Fire Department (UFD) in 1950 (photo#1) and in 1955 (photo#2). These photos were taken before and after the Urbana City Building fire in 1952. The 1950 photo was taken in front of the UFD fire station in the old city building. From left to right are Kenneth Wilson, Fire Chief, Perry Ream, Assistant Fire Chief, Dick Pooler; Pete Hagenbaugh; Dick Colbert; Bill Schetter; Gene Branstiter; Dick Malone; Harvey Niece; and Bob Neer. The 1955 photo was taken in front of the UFD fire station in the new city building. In this photo are Gene Branstiter, Jim King, Perry Ream, Earl “Pinky” Powell and Pete Hagenbaugh.
The 62-year-old Urbana City Building was destroyed by fire on Thursday, May 22, 1952. The alarm sounded at 6:50 pm. The blaze swept through the building with high velocity leaving the building a charred shell within only two hours. UFD Chief Perry Ream declared that the fire started in the southwest corner of the building in the vicinity of the city engineer’s office which was just above the city council chamber. Following the fire almost all city functions were temporarily centered at the Lyric Theater on S. Main Street.
The Champaign County Historical Museum is a not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Info from CCHS