Lancaster National Bank – Central Fire Station // 1836

Located on sleepy Main Street in Lancaster, Massachusetts, this cute mini-mansard building caught my eye immediately, and I had to take a picture! The building was constructed in 1836 for the Lancaster National Bank. The brick building was just one story with storefront windows and a central entrance, and was the only bank in the small town. When the neighboring town of Clinton saw a large increase in population due to industrial growth, the Lancaster National Bank decided to relocate to be closer to a larger clientele. They sold this building to the Town of Lancaster in 1882 and moved out. Within a year, the town added the mansard roof to the building, being careful to preserve the original cornice (now where the brick meets the roof), and converted the building to a fire station with double doors. The Central Fire Station was in operation here until 1967 when a new building was built nearby, with doors large enough to easily house modern engines. The building was then used as storage and offices for the Lancaster Water Department. Sadly, the replacement fire station doors really diminish the appeal of the building.

Granite Engine Fire House // 1853

In 1852, the Newmarket Manufacturing Company, who operated a massive mill complex along the Lamprey River in Newmarket, realized the need of adequate fire service to protect their investments and goods. They leased land on Main Street to the town and funded a new fire station, providing engines as well that could be pulled by horse to fires in town. The old station is a surviving landmark in town and retains much of its architectural integrity.

Lower Falls Hose House No.6 // 1900

This charming little firehouse in the Lower Falls Village in Newton, MA was built in 1900 to serve the growing industrial village along the Charles River. The station was active until 1918 when a newer station was built between Lower Falls and Waban on Beacon Street to service both developing villages. By 1923, the structure was remodeled by the city and opened as a public library. The ground floor was utilized as the library, with a room in the rear was used for voting. The second floor was converted to the janitor’s apartment who maintained the space. The library moved as the cramped space was not suitable for a growing city, and the property was sold by the city to a developer in 1979 and was converted to a multi-family dwelling.

Could you live in a converted firehouse?

Brookline Fire Station #7 // 1898

If you’ve been to Brookline, you’ve probably heard of or seen the Dutch House, but have you seen the Dutch (Fire) House? This amazing fire station on Washington Street in Brookline was built in 1898 for the growing town’s suburban population. Local architect G. Fred Crosby designed the building in a Dutch Renaissance Revival style, likely influenced by the Dutch House which was moved to Brookline just years before. The brick building has a Dutch stepped gable roof, stone detailing around the openings, and a tall Italian Renaissance style hose tower to the rear. The station was minimally altered at the exterior, most notably in 1951 for the enlarging of a bay to allow for larger fire apparatus to get in and out of the building. The building was featured in BrickBuilder, an architectural journal which focused on buildings and designs for brick.

Nashua Central Fire House // 1870

Built in 1870 in downtown Nashua, New Hampshire, this brick Italianate fire station served the city of Nashua for over 150 years through a variety of uses. The three-bay station originally housed a steam engine that was pulled by horse, as the city continued to grow with the development of industry along the Nashua River, additional stations were built. The station features a hose and bell tower which not only allowed for fire alarms to ring when a fire was reported, but also to hang and dry canvas hoses after use. By 1970, the station’s 100th year, the department had outgrown the place, setting in motion plans to build a new station in southwestern Nashua, which became Station 6.

The station sat vacant for years and many locals feared it would face demolition for surface parking, until Nashua’s growing Arts and Science Center – later the Nashua Center for the Arts – renovated the old station, and moved in. After that, the space was utilized as a community arts center and theater, and most recently (2019) as a micro-brewery, Liquid Therapy.