My friend Annie Jansen and I decided to meet up and play tourist in the city of Taylorville, IL which was not too far from where either of us live. While checking out the shops on Taylorville’s square that surrounds the Courthouse where kids cruise on the weekends and the downtown where many community activities take place, we stumbled upon Collections of Professions a shop where Bob Dunn, a Captain in the Taylorville Fire Department sells statues, guns and ammos and houses his huge collection of fire fighting toys and memorabilia.
In an interview with Bob for an article for Toy Trucker, I learned that Bob has wanted to be a fireman since he was three years old. Today at 47 Bob said he still loves the job he has had since 1996. Years before he was a professional fireman, he was a volunteer like his father and grandfather. Today he owns his store, an ambulance service and is a full time fire fighter with enough time somewhere and somehow to collect very cool fire fighting items.
Anyone that collects trucks will be enamored with Bob’s collection. He has Nylant, Tonka and a series of other trucks an enthusiast will recognize. For me, it was the historical items like the hand pulled Watras Fire Hose Cart that really caught my attention. In the museum there is a salesman sample that includes these red globes that Bob said were once filled with tetra chloride.
“The globes were thrown at the base of the fire,” Bob explained. “They had carbon tetra chloride and would make the fire go out.”
His collection includes helmets and coats, some that were Bob’s as he made his way up the ranks. He has his first helmet and his last. Bob is also a certified arson investigator and currently is the 3rd highest ranking member of the department. The items on display he said could not be used for fire fighting today, but they show how fireman dress and work and statues and many plaques and other items reflect the courage it takes to answer the call to serve.
If in Taylorville, Illinois and like Annie and I you are looking for something special to do, stop by!