Historical society adds marker
Iola’s firefighting heritage remembered
By Holly Neumann
The Iola Historical Society unveiled its 12th historical marker Saturday, Aug. 25, at 205 Depot St.
“This is dedicated to the firefighting heritage of Iola,” said Cliff Mishler, historical society president.
Firefighting got underway for the community in 1892 when the village authorized a bucket and ladder brigade.
Throughout the years, there has been a vast number of changes.
According to Mishler, the first mechanized firefighting equipment in Iola was a horse-drawn 1912 Waterous Pumper.
In 1926, a used 1924 Model T truck was purchased and converted into a hose truck.
“At that point, they put the horses out to pasture and the truck started pulling the Waterous Pumper around the village to fires,” Mishler said. “That was Iola’s firefighting equipment until 1942.”
At that time a REO Speedwagon was acquired by the village and it was equipped as a hose truck and pumper.
“This marker tries to recaptures that heritage,” Mishler said.
This is the first marker that has been placed in the Historical Society Village.
Making the markers unique is the fact that it is two sided and includes color pictures.
“In the long range this is quite the attraction,” said Mishler. “People who are traveling love to read historical signs about what happened in the area. This will probably be the largest concentration of these markers on a per capita basis anywhere in the country by the time we are done.”
Once the project is complete, there will be approximately 25 signs throughout the community.
Each sign costs in the $3,000 to $3,500 range.
Anyone wishing to make donations to offset the costs can do so by contacting Mishler at 715-445-5050 or by mailing donations to the Iola Historical Society, P.O. Box 412, Iola, WI 54945.