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Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013 12:01 am

FIRST BLACK FIREHOUSE

 In 1902, Springfield created an all-black firehouse to segregate black firefighters from their white counterparts. Located at what is now 1310 E. Adams, it was the only firehouse at which black firefighters were allowed to work. Firefighters from that building responded to blazes torched in the infamous 1908 Springfield race riot. While the building hasn’t been an active firehouse for decades, it has been maintained as a Masons lodge. A group of city officials and representatives from the private sector met this week to announce a plan to restore the building’s façade to its original beauty. Several Springfield-area organizations contributed to the first step, which was architectural and engineering work. The next step is raising the estimated $200,000 for the construction, says project leader Ken Page, who is Past Worshipful Master of the Prince Hall Masons in Springfield and former president of the Springfield NAACP. He said the project is important because it will preserve a piece of the city’s history. “Springfield is a history-saving city, but often we forget that there are things here other than Lincoln,” he said. “This is a huge part of the African-American community, so we’re very proud of it. We want it to stand as a legacy.” For more information or to donate, contact Ken Page at kenpage1@comcast.net or at 816-9275. Check out the project online at www.facebook.com/firstblackfirehouse.

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