What happened to the old fire station whistle? Well, we used to call it a whistle, but it was actually an old air raid siren that came from Baer Field and it was brought to Waynedale after the big war…You know, WWII.
Waynedaler’s listened to that old whistle for many years.
It would sound at noon six days a week and you could set your clocks by it. Somehow that old whistle carries part of the magic of the baby-boomers childhoods. Its woeful whine accompanied us through many a lunch and signaled the halfway point of our day as we learned the three R’s at Waynedale Elementary.
Monday, September 10, I stopped by the Engine House #1 on Old Trail Road.
We called it simply the “fire station,” and that was all we needed as there was no other station around. It housed the Wayne Township Fire Company #1, but we knew it as the Waynedale Volunteer Fire Department and it (the fire station) was the pride of all of Waynedale.
The fire department got its start around 1940 when a survey was passed around to garner support for fire protection. The closest fire service available, at that time, was City Station #5 on Broadway. That was ten miles away and the city refused to send any fire equipment outside of the city limits.
A petition was passed and the people of Waynedale asked the Wayne Township Trustee to furnish the unincorporated town of Waynedale fire protection.
Township Trustee Walter F. Hayes purchased a lot from Otto Graft at 7001 Old Trail Road and, work on the new fire station was started at this address. A new pumper truck was ordered, a K-7 American LaFrance International Fire Truck and was delivered before the fire station was completed.
James Mason, with the help of other volunteers moved a frame building from Elmhurst High School to the rear of the lot on Old Trail. The fire station itself was later constructed from used brick salvaged from a school in Bluffton that a contractor had donated. On October 31, 1942, the station was dedicated. The Elmhurst Marching Band supplied the music under the direction of Donald Fryback.
But, I have strayed from my story about the whistle. The old whistle still exists. It is still at the firehouse on Old Trail Road. However, it is in bad need of repair. When I stopped by Monday, Doug Paulson, Captain Tim White and Captain Dave Redding agreed to roll out the old whistle.
It was made in Rochester, New York by the Sterling Siren Fire Alarm Company. The old whistle is powered by a three phase, 220 Volt, 9-amp motor. The motor spins a squirrel-cage type fan that pulls air over a many louvered resonator. The top shroud seems to be constructed of aluminum and the rest of the whistle is constructed of various other metals.
There has been some talk of resurrecting the old whistle, as Waynedale is without a tornado warning siren. People from Homeland Security have been questioned about the possibility of resurrecting it rather than purchasing a new one but at this time the project is still in limbo.