Fire Station No. 1

Fire Station No. 1, which is the home of the Denver Firefighters Museum, was designed by architect Glen W. Huntington [pdf] and constructed in 1909.  This handsome building on Tremont Place replaced the earlier Fire Station No. 1 located on 15th Street near Broadway, which was demolished to make way for the 1911 Pioneer Monument.


I was surprised to learn that although it was built in 1909, Fire Station No. 1 originally housed horses and horse-drawn fire wagons.  (According to the National Register nomination for Fire Station No. 1 [pdf], it was not until 1924 that all fire houses run by the Denver Fire Department used modern, motorized firefighting equipment.)  From 1909 until the mid-1920s, the first floor of Fire Station No. 1 contained horse stalls and fire wagons, while the second story held a large hay loft.  In 1932, the station house was remodeled: the wood floor was replaced with concrete, plumbing and electric equipment were updated, and the hayloft was replaced by a kitchen and dining area for the firefighters.  In addition, new garage doors were added at the ground floor to accommodate larger motorized firefighting equipment.

The building was an active fire house until 1974 when a new Fire Station No. 1 was erected on Colfax Avenue.  Rather than demolish the building, several citizens and prominent fire firefighters were able to save it by creating the Denver Firefighters Museum.  The museum, which opened in 1978, is a popular attraction for children and adults alike.  The building is both a Denver city landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The masonry of Fire Station No. 1 is a buff, iron-spotted brick with Indiana limestone trim.  Three courses of rowlock bricks – headers turned perpendicular to their normal orientation – frame a large arch at the second story, and a single course of rowlock bricks surrounds the round oculus windows flanking the arch in the photo below.

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If you look closely at the brick in the photo below, the iron spots give it a nice texture while the light-colored mortar makes the masonry read as a unified whole.  The entire building was restored in the 1970s and remains in excellent condition.

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