5 Things You Didn’t Know About: Durand, Illinois
Durand is one of the four finalists in the 2016 Small Town Showdown. Here are some reasons why this small town deserves your vote.
Durand's early success was linked to the arrival of the Racine-Mississippi Railroad line which reached the area in 1857 en route to Freeport. The railroads first president was named H.S. Durand. (source: wikipedia)
Called Winnebago County Fire Protection District #1, the first tax-supported volunteer fire department was born 1925 out of pure necessity. After several devastating fires from 1886 to 1912 destroyed stores, businesses, restaurants, a hotel and even a school, a doctor who lost his office in a fire organized the town's first department. Click here to see their first fire truck in 1926. (source: durandcharm.com)
While attending seminary school Ellen Gates Starr met Jane Addams. They traveled Europe together and developed the ideas that would become Chicago's Hull House which they created after returning from their 10 year trip to Europe. Hull House, now a national historic landmark, was dedicated to promoting education, autonomy, and breaking into traditionally male dominated occupations for women. (source: durandcharm.com)
According to one past 'outhouse racer' interview by journalstandard.com, "years ago Durand was known as the outhouse capital of the world. There were a lot of farms and everybody had outhouses. The practical joke on Halloween was to go around and collect everybody’s outhouse and drop them in the middle of the square."
See a video of a past race HERE.
Outhouse Race rules HERE.
The spirit of volunteering was not lost after those first volunteer firefighters in 1925. Durand has been named the "Village of Volunteers" since 1981 after the board adopted the slogan that was submitted in a contest. Durand's numerous volunteer groups help foster a strong community of families working together.