Big Ben: Fire Department Mascot

During the early years of the Cape Girardeau Fire Department, firefighters had a mascot named Big Ben. He was not the normal mascot associated with departments of the time, which was usually a Dalmatian. Despite having a dog (breed unknown) to assist with handling the fire horses, the firefighters chose a rooster as the department mascot and named it Big Ben. According to newspaper accounts, Big Ben was a Barred Rock Rooster.

Big Ben was a fairly significant figure in the community. When he passed away, his obituary was carried in the local newspaper. According to the report, Big Ben was trampled to death by one of the horses used to pull the fire wagon. The department replaced him with another rooster, this one being white.

This rooster routinely rode on the fire wagon to and from calls, including the unfortunate response to the Daily Republican which resulted in the fire horses being killed. The newspaper account is as follows:

"A white rooster which perched itself on the rear axle of the wagon rode jauntily to the fire, jumped off and waded around in the water near the Presbyterian Church and then rode back to the station and went to sleep. It is unknown how many various roosters were mascots for the department or the years that this practice was carried out."

Information provided courtesy of the Southeast Missourian Newspaper

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