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.
When the Draper Corporation’s building boom of its factories and workers housing transformed the formerly sleepy industrial village into a bustling town, the mill owners realized that the inadequate fire station nearby would do little to prevent a fire that could wipe it all away. In 1915, the Drapers hired architect Robert Allen Cooke – who had already designed numerous buildings for the factory owners in the village – to furnish plans for a substantial new fire station. The Renaissance Revival station is larger than many firehouses built in cities nearby with populations two- or three times more citizens. The station features four arches equipment bays, a tall hose-drying tower, and fine terra cotta trimming. The fire department in Hopedale, thanks to funding by Draper, was always one of the finest in New England, and is credited as one of the first to have a vehicular fire truck in 1906.
Located in a triangular island at the corner of Main Street and Monument Square in the charming town of Hollis, NH, the Always Ready Engine House is a two-story clapboarded building with a lower level exposed on the east end due to the sloping site. The simple Greek Revival-style building is capped by a low-pitched gable roof and is outlined by simple pilaster cornerboards. The building was constructed in 1859 by the Town and furnished by the local fire company. Initially the building was kept for the exclusive use of the engine company but in 1862 the Soldiers’ Aid Society was granted permission to meet here. In 1877 the building was altered to accommodate the Town Hearse and in 1878 part of the basement was fitted as a local police lock-up and tramp shelter. The fire department finally vacated the structure in 1950 and the building served as the police station from 1971 to 1987. It was given to the Hollis Historical Society shortly after who hold documents, objects and photos which display the history of the town inside.
In the early 19th century, firefighting in New York was done by an assortment of volunteer groups with no centralized director. This hall was built as a headquarters for two of these groups—a move toward cooperation amongst competitors. Each company split the ground floor, divided into three rooms. The front room for the apparatus, the centre room for their meetings and the room in the rear for sitting and reading. The upper stories held meeting rooms and a library. The building was occupied as a fire headquarters until it relocated in 1887. The City of New York closed the station in the 1970s and it was rented as a mosque and theater company, losing much of its architectural detailing over the years. The Italianate style building, faced with Connecticut brownstone was restored close to the original design based on historic photos and converted to retail use, now housing Dolce & Gabbana.
In the early 20th century, the village of North Easton, Massachusetts saw large growth, in large part by the Ames Family. The town had previously had a volunteer fire station, but due to the development, a permanent fire department was needed. In 1904, Mary S. Ames (later Mrs. Louis Frothingham) donated land for the purposes of building a fire station; across from the Ames Shovel Works. The fire station, completed in 1905, remained active until 1968, when the town’s modern firehouse that could accommodate larger fire apparatus was constructed. In 1991, the former fire station became the home of the Children’s Museum in Easton, which it remains to this day.
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?
Located on Baker Street in Warren, RI, and next door to the similarly restored Federal Blues Building, the former Narragansett Engine Company Firehouse stands out as one of the most unique buildings in town. Constructed in 1846, the flushboarded two-story building features corner pilasters leading to a pedimented gable end roof. At the second floor tripartite rounded arch windows somewhat resembling a Palladian window are centered, providing an early victorian flair to the building. The structure was restored in the 1970s and now is home to the Warren Fire Museum which houses memorabilia and equipment from as early as 1802, when the Department was formed including helmets, leather fire buckets, uniforms, insignia, and photographs.. The museum even has two restored engines, “Little Button” and “Little Hero”.
Located in the municipal core of Brookline Village, across from City Hall and the Public Library, the Brookline Village Fire Station is an excellent example of a Second Empire Victorian-era fire station. Built in 1873 from designs by Charles K. Kirby, a Boston-based architect just years before he moved to California in search of gold rush commissions. This station is the oldest remaining in Brookline and retains much of its original character. It was designed to house the then separate engine and ladder companies as side-by-side stations in one building and originally housed horse-drawn engines with stables in the basement. In 1926, a Colonial Revival alarm building was added to the side and rear, which is likely when the original hose tower was removed. The building is now home to the Fire Department Headquarters and is attached to the new police headquarters.
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.
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.