On April 23, 1861 during the early days of the civil war, Firemen’s Hall hosted an elaborate flag raising ceremony. The event even included a live eagle.
Patriotic symbols and small flags festooned Firemen’s Hall in honor of the event. The city’s fire companies gathered around a speaking platform. Volunteer company Engine 9 had a live eagle at the head of their ranks. (This was less than a year after the city initiated paid fire companies, and most of the volunteer fire companies were still in active service.)
Raising The Flag
The Star-Spangled Banner was performed by the Zouave Band while a firemen’s “glee club”, specifically organized for the occasion, sang along. When they reached the chorus the entire fire department joined in the singing.
More speeches were given. Firemen who had served their country in previous wars were honored. And the large number of firemen who had volunteered to serve in the current war were given special mention.
Parading Through The Streets
When the speeches were done, the department formed up. The band lead the procession and citizens following behind the firemen. As they paraded through the streets, the group temporarily halted at several locations, giving three rousing cheers at each stop. An employee had just hoisted a flag above Mayor Buhl’s place of business when the procession passed. A spontaneous raucous cheer was raised among the firemen’s ranks.