Indy Library Adds Local Firefighting Photos to Digital Collection
Harold Adkinson (1906-1944) was a life-long resident of Indianapolis and a graduate of Arsenal Technical High School. He joined the Fire Department in 1934 and was eventually assigned to Station #12 on Sherman Drive.
On December 16, 1944, Adkinson was part of a crew on a routine test run of Engine #20. The vehicle apparently slid on some ice and ran into a car, overturning the engine. Chauffeur Hubert S. Toombs died at the scene and Adkinson, who was standing on the back step of the engine, was thrown from the vehicle. He died from his injuries five days later.
Mr. Adkinson's interest in the fire department extended to amassing a sizeable collection of photographs and other documents relating to the Indianapolis Fire Department. After his death, his family donated his collection of over 900 photos to the Indiana State Library. These historic photographs, dating from 1874-1939, include images of trucks and other vehicles, fire stations, group photos, fire scenes, and daily life.
new images come from the photo collection of early 20th century
Indianapolis firefighter Harold Brown Adkinson which resides at the Indiana
State Library. The Adkinson photos have been incorporated into the Library's
digital library of over 2,100 historic firefighting images that include local
African-American firefighters and scenes from such tragic events as the
Bowen-Merrill fire of 1890, the Coliseum explosion in 1963, and the Grant
building fire in 1973. Click HERE to view more photos.
You can purchase your copy of First In Last Out - A History of Firefighting Fire in Indianapolis on-line at WFYI's website for $20 plus shipping and handling. You can also pick up a copy at the Union Hall for $20.
The phoenix is a fabled bird in ancient mythology. It is said that the bird is consumed by fire and that it then arises from its ashes renewed. The dramatic rebirth of the phoenix from its own ashes has made it a symbol of immortality and spiritual rebirth. This mythical bird is represented on each firefighter's badge and on many firefighting emblems.
The layout of the memorial plaza begins at the main doors of the firehouse. Those doors are flanked by two complete stone columns. To the left of the doors is a series of stone columns similar to those standing at the firehouse. These columns differ, however, in that they are each broken and moving in a descending spiral. On the columns are carved the names of the individuals who gave their lives in service to their community. At the apex of the spiral is a raised platform set above the surrounding plane. From this platform bursts a new column in the process of being hewn from the living stone. Near the top of the column are abstract carvings of flames that evolve into a three dimensional representation of fire. The carving then transforms into the plumage of the rising mythical bird, the phoenix.
The Plaza area is lined with a Memorial Brick Walkway where you can immortalize your family, business, organization, society, fire station, department, etc. Your commemorative brick will be engraved with your inscription for years to come. The cost is only $50 for 2-lines or $55 for 3-lines; maximum 14 characters per line. All proceeds go the Firefighters Museum & Memorial. CLICK HERE to download your order-form
In 2008, Local 416 approached the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library to ask for advice in preserving the thousands of photographs, logbooks, and other artifacts that were slowly deteriorating in the Indianapolis Firefighters Museum. A partnership was formed between the Museum, IUPUI University Library, and IMCPL, with funding from CICF to digitize these items and make them available online to the public. To see the project, click here.