Hydrant Hunting

A guide to (almost) every fire hydrant in Hillsboro, Kansas.

Hydrant Hunting

With Ellie and Abby Frye.

Hydrant Hunting is a fairly simple exercise: walk (or ride, or drive) around until you come across a fire hydrant, then take a picture with it. The bigger question is why hunt for hydrants? To understand for myself, I asked Fire Chief Ben Steketee for a list of every fire hydrant in Hillsboro, which he gladly provided (it’s public information) and then accompanied two seasoned Hydrant Hunters, Ellie and Abby Frye, on a series of expeditions around Hillsboro. 

 When did you start looking for fire hydrants?

E Probably about last year. We were in Kansas City, and I saw a bunch of gold ones, and other ones, and they were all cool so we started loving fire hydrants.

Where all have you looked for hydrants?

A All over.

E Here in our town, Marion, Kansas City … where else have we seen them? Oh yeah — Indiana, Chicago. We did some in France.

Do you like the hydrants in Hillsboro?

E Yeah, they’re cool.

Do you have any ideas for how they could be better?

E I have an idea! Let’s buy a bunch of hats and put them on hydrants!

A Ellie wants to buy all these hats from Et Cetera and then put them on all the fire hydrants.

Do you like the color of them?

E I think there should be some other colors like green, polka-dot, striped …

How would you paint a hydrant?

E Let me go get some better colors and then I’ll show you. Mama — draw one and then I’ll color it.

A When Katherine got me a notebook for my birthday I drew a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. I was really happy with that picture. 

E Let’s take a picture of it. Wait, let me draw some clouds first.