Tuesday, July 27, 2010
A little while ago, Zack Miklowski, a firefighter with an interest in historic preservation, brought the case of Fire Station 26 to my attention. He had a great collection of photos, both historic and contemporary, to illustrate the story. He has the background to tell this story better than I can. I asked him to write a guest post on the subject, which he graciously agreed to do.
The city of Cleveland plans to replace an old historical firehouse in 2012. The City of Cleveland 2008 Capital improvement plan, page 30 states that Fire Station 26 is to be replaced in 2012 at a cost of $3,650,000. This historic structure deserves to be a historic landmark and remain a Firehouse.
Station 26 was established May 1st 1898 at 7818 Kinsman, corner of East 79th Street (then East Madison Avenue) The station was built by the Kinsman Street Improvement Association for the surrounding Hungarian neighborhood. The City of Cleveland agreed to provide firefighters, and apparatus to man the station after the community had it built. It was a state of the art facility for its time. The 1897 History of the Cleveland Fire Department states "Work has commenced on the new Kinsman Street Fire Station, Which, when finished will be one of the most complete and modern buildings in the city." The Plain Dealer, Wednesday March 9th, 1898 reported, "The new station is an exceptionally fine structure of its kind, built of brick, with stone trimmings, with two stories and a large attic and a tower of particularly artistic design." It was built with glazed yellow bricks with contrasting stone in a Middle Victorian Stone Style.
The Station has two arched bay doors, for the steamer and for the hose cart. This is an improvement on single bay door design where two apparatus use the same door.
The steamer was a coal fired pump.
The hose cart would follow with all the hose needed to fight fires. In 1898 both apparatus were horse drawn.
In the rear of the station was the stable with a hayloft above. This hayloft has been used for many things since 1898. It was a locker room, the original firefighters credit union, and now a kitchen. The second floor of the station has the bathroom, officer room, and dormitory. The Original Georgia pine woodwork and wainscoting is intact.
The original wood stairway is intact.
The Dormitory has a fire pole that leads to the center of the station, which was between the two apparatus. The apparatus bay has a cherry wood ceiling and traditional white enamel brick walls. Gaslights hung from the ceiling in 1898.
Originally there was a circular radiator, which was a impromptu meeting place to warm up after cold weather fires.
In the front center of the bay is the watch desk.
The original game well telegraph system is still there with cherry woodwork surrounding.
The original windows have been bricked over and the banisters that surrounded it have been removed.
In the original plans a 3-story watchtower was to be built. This tower would have had a firefighter lookout to watch for smoke. This tower was abandoned due to the telegraph system. A illustration of how it may have looked has been included. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Wednesday, March 9th, 1898.
In the attic the original hole for a Fire pole from the 3rd floor to the 2nd floor was found and covered up.
This is the oldest continuously open fire station in the city of Cleveland. (Photo 21,22). Although this station is no longer a modern building as stated in the History of the Cleveland Fire Department, this station is in good shape after 112 years. This Fire Home should be saved, and not lost. If the city replaces it will most likely be left to rot away like so many other historic structures.