How the firehouse got to us

The third most popular question we are asked when someone finds out we own and live in a firehouse is “What’s the history of the building?” The most popular question  remains “Does it have a fire pole?” (It does.) That’s usually followed by an inquiry is about our heating/cooling bills. (Which I touched on here.)

We’ve been piecing together the history of this place ever since we fell in love with it. Here’s what we’ve learned.

firehouse history

We’re still on the hunt for more info. We would love to get our hands on the blueprints or some old pictures. Supposedly there’s a St Louis fire fighters museum, but we’ve heard mixed reviews about the contents. Have you ever tried to dig up facts on your house? Any tips?

14 comments

  1. Christina

    You might connect with the City more if you haven’t already. They likely have some old photos in a forgotten box, but if they know someone loves their own building, you might find a friend who will keep you in mind if they come across something. Check with the Building/Development Department for old blue prints. Especially as a City-owned building, they should have something. Again, who knows how easy it is to get to, though. You might also try to find some of the FD old-timers. I’ve found the Fire Departments can sometimes become…shall we say…retiree social clubs. They might know someone who actually worked there for a short time, or be able to connect you with a bit more of the history. Definitely check out the museum…even if it isn’t the best tourist attraction, I mean, you bought a fire house!

    • Heather

      Thanks for the ideas. We’ve thought about engaging the city, but didn’t know exactly where to start. The St Louis city website isn’t exactly user friendly. We’ll look into those departments.

      I know, I know. We should go to the museum. The biggest problem is that it’s open just a few hours on weekdays.

  2. Erin

    Hey Heather! My house in South City was built in 1926. I was curious about who lived in the house so I did some research on ancestry.com and looked at the 1930 census (looking into the 1940 census next). I was able to find out the names, ages, occupations, etc. of the people who lived in my house. Very cool!

  3. Christy

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing as I was curious about the details. So neat to have such a cool history and makes for a good story :)

  4. Kati from so happy home

    Not relevant directly to your hunt, but this site is pretty neat: http://www.shorpy.com . At our old house we were able to find a photo of the main street of our town (not our house, but from the same time period) which was really fun to see. Especially when you can easily compare things to google maps to see how much things have changed. I wonder if you have an old local library? Sometimes they have neighborhood info, or other such details. Plus, if you can find an old librarian you’ll be in for a treat – they remember EVERYTHING! (My dad is a librarian, and he recalls so much it’s frightening.)

    • Heather

      Very interesting site. I did some internet digging and found a site with old St Louis pics, but it didn’t have anything from our neighborhood. A local library is a good thought!

  5. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

    So cool to know the history of such a terrific space! I am fascinated that all of the African American firefighters were assigned to one firehouse. Am I surprised in 1930ish St. Louis? No. It is the way things were there and then. But still…unbelievable.

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