History of Creve Coeur Fire District
The Creve Coeur Fire Department was started in the year 1943, when seven public-spirited men saw the need for a fire department in this area. In that year, these seven men took a course in firefighting sponsored by the Office of Civil Defense. In 1942, the volunteers received their first fire truck – a 1933 Chevrolet. The government issued a Willys pump and a 1000 feet of hose. The first fire station was in the basement of the old Dierberg's Store.
The Creve Coeur Volunteer Fire Associates was actually formed in the spring of 1944. They signed up volunteers in front of the Dierberg's Store. To notify the volunteers of a fire, they would drive the fire truck out into the street and sound the siren. In order to raise funds for equipment, the volunteers would hold fish fries and have carnivals. The first Fire Chief was Mr. Charles DeVault. The volunteers would have in-service training every Sunday Morning. Later in 1943, the volunteers started to sell fire tags. The cost of tags was $5.00 for residential and $10.00 for commercial building, annually. The ladies auxiliary would go from door to door selling tags. The Fire Chief was elected annually by members of the association.
As the area grew and more and more people began to make this area their home and place of business, the need for and organized fire district with regular set boundaries was realized. So, on December 16, 1958, it was put before the people to vote in favor of or against the incorporation of a fire district. The voters approved their desire for an organized Fire District. The Volunteer Associates financed the newly formed District until tax funds could be received. In 1959, Robert E. Mertz was appointed full-time Fire Chief. The Fire District constructed the second Fire Station located at 10940 Schuetz Road in October of 1962. The present modern headquarters replaced the old block building located at 11720 Olive Boulevard station in 1968. This was possible by the citizens voting for a bond issue. The District is presently a “Class Three” fire insurance rated district. This is among the lowest rates presently in the St. Louis County. The District provides Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services (ambulance) to portions of the Cities of the Creve Coeur , Maryland Heights, the Village of Westwood and the unincorporated areas surrounding these two cities. It protects a population of 40,000 people and an area of 26 square miles.
Creve Coeur has had a most fascinating history and it would not be complete without the Legend of Creve Coeur. The name Creve Coeur is French, meaning “Broken Heart” (notice the line running diagonally from upper left to lower right), and there seems to be no lack of imagination of area residents dreaming up stories behind the name and how the lake came to be known as Creve Coeur. Some have said heartache caused from a flood in the late eighteenth century gave it its name. There are stories of a church bell ringer's wife who was separated from her family and spent her time on the beach at Creve Coeur lake. The most common story is about a young Indian girl named Memetonwish and a young Frenchman. There are variations even on this story, but they all include a love affair with a Frenchman. In most of the stories, the heroine is an Indian princess and in all cases, her love was not returned. When the princess, often called Memetonwish, plunged to her death, the lake is said to have split into two lakes, forming the shape of a broken heart, as can be seen on the old maps. The Dripping Spring at the cliff where she jumped to her death also burst forth to represent eternal tears shed over the tragic love affair.