Street Address
533 St Charles St
Elgin, IL 60120
Mailing Address
Elgin, IL 60120
phone: 847-697-6242
April - December
Closed: January through March
Sunday, Saturday12 PM - 4 PM
or by appt
Group Tours
Cathy Hemmings, Board Member
phone: 847-697-6242


The Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum houses the Elgin Fire Department's most prized artifacts. Among the museum's collection are photos, helmets, various badge types, uniforms, a hand-drawn hose cart, an 1869 horse-drawn Silsby Steamer, several motorized vehicles and much much more.

In 1990, a small group of individuals met to discuss the future of Elgin's last Fire Barn, built in 1903, which was scheduled to be taken out of service. It seemed that the logical solution was to use the Fire Barn to house the city's collection of fire related memorabilia. This solution would allow the building to be viewed, as well as the collection, which had been stored in the basement storeroom of Fire Station 1.

By August of 1991, the group had been successful in obtaining national recognition for the building by having it placed on the National Register of Historic Places. A short time later it became the second official City of Elgin Landmark. By fall of 1991 the Museum Board had incorporated and by-laws, as well as a museum policy had been adopted. The main focus of the group had shifted from saving the Fire Barn to organizing into a viable museum. The Board has taken on the role of administrator and operator of the Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum.

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The Elgin Fire Department was established in 1867 as an all volunteer department. The first company was the Elgin Hook & Ladder Company and held their first meeting in the city's courthouse on the evening of September 16, 1867. The Elgin Hook & Ladder Company consisted of a ladder wagon and several volunteer firefighters and operated out of the city's first fire house, a small, wood-frame building on Spring Street.

Over the next several decades numerous fire companies were added to the department, primarily Company 2 in 1891, Company 3 in1896, Company 4 in 1897, Company 5 in 1904, Company 6 in 2005, and Company 7 in 2007. Today the Elgin Fire Department consists of 7 stations and over 135 full-time firefighters. The modern department protects a population of over 110,000 in a city that is spread over 50 square miles and continues to make history every day.

Educational Programs

Scouting Education Programs


    Group Tours