WFD announces Memorial Bell Plaza project

Pictured is the Stuckstede bronze bell that served as a way of alerting Waterloo firemen of fire calls in the department’s early days. (submitted photo)

The Waterloo Fire Department kicked off a campaign last week to raise funds to build a permanent outdoor display for its 100-year-old bell.

The planned WFD Memorial Bell Plaza will be located on the grounds of the recently completed Waterloo firehouse at the corner of Moore Street and Illinois Avenue.

The bronze bell, cast in St. Louis in the late 1800s, was a fixture in the early days of the fire department and served as a “paging system” for alerting volunteers of fire calls.

“We’ve heard they rang the bell in a series of rings according to the location of the call,” said Joe Krump, WFD President and chairman of the plaza project. “It hung at our last firehouse, built in 1963, and the old Waterloo City Hall/Firehouse before that, built in 1933. With the community’s help, we’re going to give this important piece our history a fitting home.”

The Memorial Bell Plaza will consist of the brick-and-iron bell structure in the center of four brick paver fields laid out in a Maltese Cross pattern.  The plaza will be located in the greenspace “island” in the south parking lot of the new fire station. Benches and landscaping will complete the park-like setting.

No tax funds will be used for any part of the project, Krump stressed. Funds will come from a personalized tribute paver program and other donations.

“Because of people already saying they are willing to donate their services… like brick work, concrete and landscaping, it’s difficult to figure what the completed project will cost,” Krump said. “We’re setting our fundraising goal at $20,000. We believe that should cover everything to complete the plaza.”

Tribute pavers are available in three sizes: four inches by eight inches for $100; eight inches by eight inches for $250 and 12 inches by 12 inches for $1,000.

Order forms are available from any WFD member or can be picked up at Waterloo City Hall or at many local businesses. Forms can also be found on the department’s website,

For any questions regarding the project, call the Waterloo firehouse at 939-8009 or Joe Krump at 618-779-2460.

The new Waterloo fire station opened at 510 Illinois Avenue in September. The new 16,000-square-foot facility, on  the former site of the Monroe County Nursing Home, replaced the 54-year-old station rented from the city at 233 N. Main Street.

The new building includes 14-by-14-foot doors and four drive-through truck bays — plus a fifth bay that could be modified into a drive-through in the future.

There are also offices, showers and restroom facilities for males and females, as well as a training room and exercise facilities.

The training area also doubles as a temporary shelter for up to 75 displaced persons in case of a large-scale disaster.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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