You are here
A special community vote was held in 1950 to pass a proposed $8,000 in building bonds for development of a fire station. It was rejected by the residents of Knollwood by one vote, 46 to 45. The members of the department recognized the necessity for community involvement and began assisting the community beyond the traditional role of firefighting, for example, pumping out basements and flooding the park in the winter for skating. The second tax levy vote, in September 1951, passed 81 to 16 and authorized a total of $8,065.75 in bonds to erect a fire station. The bonds were issued by the First National Bank of Lake Forest. The land purchased for the construction of a fire station was bought for $187.47 on back taxes.
Originally a two-bay station with a front door centered between the two bays, the station was the unofficial community center. However, returning from a weekend of fierce competition at the Lake County Fire Convention, a contest among paid and volunteer departments that test skills and muscle in various firefighting activities, the engine's operator misjudged the bay doors and backed the returning engine into the front door. The department was faced with a dilemma: rebuild or expand?
Recognizing the growing population of Knollwood, the department elected to convert the front door and earlier conference room into a third bay. The station would later be expanded again to accommodate two more bays, a kitchen, a gathering room, and an office.
Construction of the new fire station began on October 8, 2002, the anniversary of the great Chicago Fire, and was completed in 2003. Today the Knollwood Fire Department stands proudly on the same soil it did all those years ago, but now the facilities and equipment are modern.
Tradition is a constant presence in the fire service, embodied in both superstition and department policy. Community members laid the foundation of the Knollwood Volunteer Fire Department and were shaped by their equipment as the department evolved and began to reshape the surrounding community.