Ten Historic Fire Houses in Maryland

07/02/2016
By Preservation Maryland

Maryland is home to many historic fire companies, some of which date as far back as the early nineteenth century. Most old firehouses now serve as other multi-purpose uses, but in old cities like Baltimore, there are still a fair amount of older ones that are still actively operated by the fire department.

Many of them share a rich heritage. Fire historian and intern with Preservation Maryland, Kurt Waters, has documented some of the state’s oldest and most unique firehouses that are still standing today:

Western Maryland

First Hose, Hagerstown, Washington County. Photo by Kurt Waters.

WASHINGTON COUNTY FIRST HOSE CO. STATION 1

33 S. Potomac Street, Hagerstown

The Hagerstown Firehouse of the First Hose Company, located on Potomac Street just south of Washington Street, is the oldest active firehouse in the entire State of Maryland. The building was constructed in 1881 of a unique Italianate architecture. Today this firehouse is home to Hagerstown Engine Co. 1 and also to the Hagerstown Fire Museum.

 

 

 


EASTERN SHORE

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Dorchester County Station 1, Cambridge, Maryland. Photo by Kurt Waters.

OLD CAMBRIDGE VOL. FIRE CO. STATION 1

307 Gay Street, Cambridge
Dorchester County
Part of Cambridge Town Hall

The former Cambridge Firehouse, located at 307 Gay Street, was constructed in 1926 by architects Henry Powell Hopkins and Allan Burton. This firehouse is one of the top oldest standing firehouses throughout the Eastern Shore and was constructed in combination with the old Cambridge City Hall. The building was recently renovated and today it serves as multiple office spaces by the City of Cambridge government as well as with the Municipal Utilities Commission staff.

 

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CECIL COUNTY WATER WITCH FIRE CO. STATION 7

N. Main Street, Port Deposit

The former Water Witch Volunteer Firehouse on Main Street, now a municipal building, was the town’s original firehouse which dates back to 1880 when the company was first organized. It is the oldest standing firehouse in Cecil County and sits in the quaint little town of Port Deposit along side the Susquehanna River.

 

 

 

 


CENTRAL MARYLAND

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The Firehouse Museum, Station #2, Ellicott City, Howard County. Photo by Kurt Waters.

HOWARD COUNTY OLD ELLICOTT CITY FIRE CO.

3829 Church Road, Ellicott City

The Historic Ellicott City Firehouse, located on Church Road and Main Street, was the very first firehouse built in Howard County. The building was constructed in 1889 by volunteers and operated as a firehouse until 1923 when it was then converted to a meeting hall, county office space, and a library. Today the building serves as the Ellicott City Firehouse Museum where it is open to the public.

 

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Waterwitch #1, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Photo by Kurt Waters.

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY WATER WITCH H&L CO. STATION 1

33 East Street, Annapolis

The former Water Witch Hook-&-Ladder Firehouse, located at 33 East Street, is the oldest standing firehouse today in the historic city of Annapolis. The building was constructed in 1913 in a unique Italianate-style and it is the second firehouse built on this same site following an earlier one that was built in 1885. The firehouse closed in 1986 and the Water Witch Hook-&-Ladder relocated to the newer Annapolis firehouse at 620 Taylor Avenue.

In 1987 the city sold the building to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Recently, the building was rehabilitation into a residential condominium.

 

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Baltimore City Fire Museum, Engine #6, Maryland. Photo by Kurt Waters.

BALTIMORE CITY OLD ENGINE CO. 6

414 N. Gay St. Oldtown Mall
Formerly Independent Fire Co. 6

The former firehouse of Baltimore City Engine Co. 6, located on Gay and Orleans Streets, currently serves as the Baltimore City Fire Museum, as well as the club quarters of the Box 414 Association. Box 414 runs a mobile canteen wagon service that responds on all second alarm fires or greater in all of Baltimore City. The association serves drinks, food, and refreshments to firefighters who are working hard to battle the big blazes. They have been providing service since the club formed in 1946.

Old 6 Engine House dates back to the volunteer days of Baltimore’s fire companies. It served as the Independent Fire Company No. 6 until February 15, 1859, which was the day Baltimore transitioned from a volunteer fire department to a paid fire department. The building remained in active fire department use until 1976 when the newer Oldtown Firehouse on Hillen and Forrest Streets was built to house Engine Co. 6, along with several other surrounding fire companies. The current building was constructed in 1853, and prior to that year an older firehouse once stood on the same site from 1799 until it was rebuilt to what it is today.

The building was designed by architects William H. Reasin and Samuel B. Wetherald and it consists of a unique Gothic bell and clock tower which stands at a height of 103 feet. The bell was made by the McShane Bell Foundry and was used to strike out the number of alarms of fire.

 

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Engine Company #44, Roland Park, Baltimore City, Maryland. Photo by Kurt Waters.

BALTIMORE CITY ENGINE CO. 44

2 Upland Rd, Roland Park
Truck Co. 25

The Baltimore City Firehouse of Engine Co.44 and Truck 25, located on Upland Road just west of Roland Avenue, is one of the best known active firehouses in the city today due to its unique Tudor style of architecture. This firehouse is part of the oldest shopping center in the United States, and is in one of the country’s first planned suburban communities, Roland Park.

The building was constructed in 1895 and designed by Wyatt & Nolting, Architects. It first opened up as Baltimore County Firehouse No. 11 and a Baltimore County Police Jail. In 1919, Baltimore City annexed nearly 60 square miles of Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties, and the Baltimore City Fire Department took over the Roland Park Firehouse which was re-designated as Baltimore City Fire Department’s Engine Co.44. In 1926 Truck Co.25 was organized and placed into service in the same firehouse.

 

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BALTIMORE CITY ENGINE CO. 14

1908 Hollins Street, Union Square

The Firehouse of Engine Co.14, located on Hollins Street just west of Monroe, is currently the oldest, longest continuously active running firehouse in Baltimore City. It was constructed in 1888 and dates back to the days of H. L. Mencken, a well-known Baltimore journalist born into a German-American family, who lived about four blocks east on Hollins Street in Union Square. He used to hangout at Engine 14 on a regular basis when growing up in West Baltimore.

Today Engine Co. 14 remains one of the top five busiest firehouses in Baltimore City.

 

 

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BALTIMORE CITY OLD WATCHMAN FIRE CO. 16

125 E. Montgomery Street, Federal Hill

The old firehouse on Montgomery Street, east of Light Street, was once the home of the Watchman Volunteer Fire Company. The building was constructed in 1840 and decommissioned from fire service in 1859 when Baltimore City took over all of the volunteer fire companies and converted them into paid fire companies. It is the oldest standing firehouse in the City of Baltimore and is most likely to be the oldest standing firehouse in the whole state of Maryland as well.

Today the building operated as residential apartment units.

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Station #4, Catonsville, Baltimore County. Photo by Kurt Waters.

BALTIMORE COUNTY STATION 4

756 Frederick Road, Catonsville

The Catonsville Firehouse, home of Baltimore County Fire Department Station 4 located on Frederick Road just west of Ingleside Avenue, is currently the oldest active running firehouse in all of Baltimore County. The building was constructed in 1928 originally as both a county fire and police department combination type building. The former police quarters section of the building now serves today as a Baltimore County Council office.


 

This post was written by Kurt Waters, a communications and photograph intern, at Preservation Maryland through our Waxter Memorial Internship program. Kurt has a degree in Environmental Design, and graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a degree in Photography. He has an interest in documenting the buildings and culture of fire fighting history in Maryland. Learn more about Kurt and our Waxter Internship program.

 

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