Friday, September 8, 2017

Fireman Museum in New Bern


The conditions were perfect. The weather was dry and the firemen were all on their way to Raleigh for the Eastern North Carolina State Championship Football Game. And then it happened. The largest lumber company in 1922 caught fire on December 1, but that wasn’t enough. The fire began to leap to other destinations because the 70 mile per hour winds. People within the city were recruited to help. Within an hour a fire started in the chimney of a small house on Kilmarnock Street. The fire of New Bern was devestating. About 1/3 of the city was destroyed, over 3,000 were left homless and 40 city block were destroyed.

This is just the beginning of the history shared at the Firemen’s Museum, a museum established in 1955.


There were two rivaling firefighting companies that ended up being housed in the same building. Our story begins on May 14, 1885. On May 14, 1845 the New Bern Fire Department started the Atlantic Hook & Ladder Company. As the Civil War commenced in 1861, the company soon became inactive because so many members were serving in the Confederate Army. When the need for an active firefighting company again arose, the New Bern Steam Fire Engine company No. 1 was started up. As life returned to normal, the focus shifted. The focus for the firefighting companies was getting the biggest, the best, and the fastest equipment.

As you see above, the steam fire engine was all the rage in the later 1800’s. In 1879, The Atlantic Hook & Ladder Company received a new Silsby steam fire engine. In an attempt to out do the other, in 1884 the New Bern Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1 traded in their Amoskeag steam engine for the new “Button Steam Fire Engine.” There name was soon changed to the “Button Company.” The companies continued to compete with each other thorughout the state. The Button Company acheived the world record for running quick steam at 1 minute 46 seconds.


No, this is not a horse pulled fire hose, but a human pulled one!


This demonstrates how the hoses were hung up so they can dry.


The helmets were different than todays in that they were made with leather. You can only imagine how much that would cost today if they were still made in that fashion.


This is a very interesting piece used in the incident of a fire. Our guide explained that in a central location of a fire, there would be someone that would signal the alarm system which would be connected to the system at the fire station. They would go to that area and then be directed from there to the more specific location.


Fred was among the most faithful and loyal of the fire horses. He lived for 25 years doing a great service for the Atlantic Hook & Ladder Company for 17 years. Mr. John Taylor and Fred the horse were a team working together to combat fires. Fred was keen with his senses as he had the ability to recognize tones of fire alarms and then reach those locations on this own. He was no stranger to adversity, but when his well loved owner died in 1925 of a heart attack, Fred passed away soon after. The dedication of Fred to his owner was very admirable and just another piece of history that visitors will experience at the Fireman’s Museum in New Bern, North Carolina.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Tips for Visiting Navy Pier & Lake Shore View in Chicago


Going to Downtown Chicago three times during my stay in Illonois, made the trip feel like three trips rolled into one. I’m a more nature minded kind of girl, but big cities fascinate me. For the final visit to Chicago before flying on home, I got the best of both worlds. Seeing Lake Michigan was like a huge bonus. It wasn’t on my radar, so when I realized we were going to get to go along the famous lake shore coast line, I was very happy.


The Greatest Challenge…

Hands down is parking and so if you haven’t opted for the public transit, then check out Each time you park it can cost about $22 for just a couple hours and once you go through, even if you make a mistake, you’ve got to pay the price. I speak from experience. The lady though was kind enough to refund us, but don’t risk it! Do a search on your location and see which places are cheapest. If you’re planning to go to Navy Pier, the Lakefront Trail is a popular and well-known route. Just be prepared for lots of foot traffic, but it is worth it for the views.


A beautiful view of Navy Pier. Now, for the story and some words of wisdom. So, I found this nice little restaurant in the indoor eating area. I asked the cashier for advice about what to do. The insider info is that it is a tourist trap, but in my opinion, it is all in your perspective. We ended up just having to pay for the parking and for lunch which was well deserved anyway (the lunch that is). I was in it for the views, so in this case, it turned out okay.


Since the cheapest boat tour is about $40 a person (and way up from there), I chose to just get my picture in front of it. I saved a lot! The one behind me must have been over $100. I’m just guesstimating.


Another beautiful view. Lake Michigan is the third largest of the Great Lakes when measured by the water surface. Another fact is that it is the only great lake that is entirely in the United Staes. The water covers 22,300 square miles touching the four states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan (of course), and Wisconsin.