Firehouses have been in the news in 2003, as many have been closed or have had closing threatened by a cash strapped New York City, infuriating residents who fear inadequate protection from disaster as well as the sense of helplessness in the face of a seemingly uncaring bureaucracy.
This isn’t the first time the city has closed firehouses for whatever reason, however; on this page, we’ll see others that have succumbed and now serve other purposes.
160 CHAMBERS STREET
Engine 29 from 3/29/1897 to Jan 1, 1947.
70 BARROW STREET
Was built in 1851 for Empire Hose Volunteer and was used until they disbanded in 1865. It is now an apartment building. A spiral staircase from its firehouse days can still be seen through its front window.
78 MORTON STREET
From 1864-65, it was used by Howard Red Rover Engine Volunteer. It then became home for Engine 24 until Nov. 1975.
96 CHARLES STREET
First opened in 1857 as the home for Vol. Fire Co. Columbian and became home to Hook and Ladder 5 on Sept. 25, 1865. It was in use until Nov. 1975. One member of Columbian, James R. Tappan, was killed at Bull Run.
604 EAST 11th STREET
In service as Engine 28 from Oct. 1880 to 1959. The present owners keep it painted red.
243 WEST 20th STREET
Originally home to Vol. Engine 50 Liberty from around the mid 1850s. Became home to Ladder 12 on Sept. 1, 1865 where they stayed until Feb. 1967. It is now a women’s center.
165 WEST 29th STREET
Home of Engine 1 from 1873 until Nov. 1946. Currently retail. Plaque on exterior of 165 West 29th. Photo: Peter Hack
The 766 Amsterdam Avenue house originally quartered Ladder 16 from 1876 to 1882, when they were reorganized as Combination Engine Company No. 47 (steam engine, plus hose wagon, plus ladder truck). In 1891 CEC-47 was re-organized as a standard engine company (E-47) and moved to their current quarters on West 113th St. Ladder Company 22 was organized and quartered at 766 Amsterdam when E-47 moved out and worked there until 1960 when they both 145 W. 100 Street (with 76 Engine, also at 766 Amsterdam from 1957-1960). As an aside, Ladder 16 was reorganized in 1887 and quartered at 157 East 67th Street, where they remain today.
Thanks to Forgotten fans Anthony Pisciotta and Dominick Salerno for research and photography for this page.