The Denver Firefighters Museum
The Denver Firefighters Museum
The building that houses the Denver Firefighters Museum was constructed in 1909 as a station for Engine Company No.1. Glen W. Huntington, a noted Denver architect, designed the building which was one of the largest fire houses ever built in Denver. Station One housed men, fire engines and the horses to pull them. Horses were stabled at the rear of the building while the firemen ate and slept in the dormitory on the upper floor.
By 1924 all apparatus in Denver had been motorized and the last horses were retired from the Denver Fire Department. Station One was modernized to reflect the needs of motorized equipment. The firehouse served for 66 years and was one of the oldest when it was decommissioned in 1974.
In 1866 a letter was circulated asking for signatures of those interested in forming a fire department. Fifty signatures were obtained. The Denver Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 was founded on March 25, 1866 and was an all volunteer company. A uniform was decided on and the $13.00 cost was paid by each firemen. The firemen were called to put out fires around the city using the bucket brigade method. Buckets of water were passed hand to hand from a water source to the fire.
By 1867, the Fire Company purchased a hand operated engine. This hand-drawn piece of apparatus was used until 1872 and is now housed at the Museum. Large black rubber hoses were attached to one end of the engine and were then placed in a water source such as a creek or cistern. Ten men would stand on either side and raise and lower two wooden bars which caused the pump to pull water into the engine. Hoses from a hose reel were attached to the other end of the engine. Water was pumped from the engine through the hoses and onto the fire. The men worked hard to create enough pressure to force the water through approximately 100 feet of hose.
In December of 1880, a fire ordinance was passed which provided for the appointment of one Fire Marshal, two Engineers, two Stokers, two Captains, six Drivers, six horsemen, four Laddermen, and seven Janitors. Each position now earned a salary. This ordinance ushered in the era of paid firefighters and horse drawn fire apparatus.
In 1975 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum was opened to the public in 1978. The Denver Firefighters Museum was founded in 1975 and opened to the public in 1978. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents dating from 1866 to the present which are associated with firefighting in Denver. Educational programs focus on fire safety and prevention with hands-on activities for children and adults. The Museumís gift shop features specialty items related to firefighting.
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Pictures and information were provided by Denver Firefighters Museum
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