| Durham Former Firehouses
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The first fire equipment purchased by town officials
was a pair of ladders and a half dozen chains
authorized in 1871. Durham's first fire company was
formed in 1876, when a meeting was held by citizens for
the purpose of organizing a fire department. By 1880,
Durham Fire Company consisted
of Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 and Bucket
Company No. 1.
Subsequent decades saw the addition of
chemical wagons, hose wagons, and horses. The first
steam engine was purchased in 1903 and the first motor
truck was placed in service in 1915. The Durham Fire
Department was fully-paid at that point, having
reorganized as a career department six years
Durham's first fire station was erected in 1890, a
two-story, red-brick structure built on the
southeast corner of Mangum and Holloway streets.
Rebuilt in 1922, the engine house still stands,
along with other former fire department structures
that trace the history of the Durham Fire
Old Fire Station 1
212 N. Mangum Street
Built 1890 / Closed 1965
Presently a restaurant
Built in 1890 at the corner of Mangum
and Holloway Streets, the original
Station 1 was rebuilt in 1922.
Changes to the remodeled structure included moving the 829-pound
alarm bell and its tower from the rear
to the front of the building.
In 1965, a new Station 1 was completed
at 139 East Morgan Street. The old
fire bell was also moved and is displayed
outside the main entrance.
The 6,974 square-foot historic
structure served as an office
building for decades, and was
remodeled as a restaurant in 2009.
Old Fire Station 3
103 S. Driver Street
Built 1953 / Closed 1998
Presently Public Works facility
The two-bay brick structure at the corner of South Driver
and East Main Streets replaced the original Station 3,
built in 1911 in the 500 block of East Main Street.
In 1998, both Engine 3 and Engine 8 relocated to a
new Station 3 at 822 North Miami Boulevard. The 2,380
square-foot structure is presently a
Public Works facility.
Old Fire Station 4
1801 Fayetteville Street
Built 1958 / Closed 1999
Presently campus police station
Replacing a 1926 building at the northeast corner of McMannan and
Cobb streets, Station 4 was first
staffed by an all African-American
The ten men were Durham's first
black firefighters since the volunteer
Excelsior Hook and Ladder Company of
the early 1880s.
In 1999, Engine 4 relocated to a
new station at 1818 Riddle Road. Their
1,088 square-foot old engine house is
presently used by North Carolina Central
University, which remodeled the
building for its police
Old Fire Station 8
2725 Holloway Street
Built 1980 / Closed 1998
Presently EMS station
Station 8 was built as a Public Safety station during the
period that the city combined the positions of police
officer and firefighter. Started in 1970, the
Safety program ended in 1985.
In 1998, both Engine 8 and Engine 3 relocated to a
new Station 3 at 822 North Miami Boulevard. In 2005, a new
Station 8 opened at 225 Lick Creek
Drive near the Grove Park subdivision.
The 1,184 square-foot former station
is presently used by Durham County
Emergency Medical Services.
Old Training Tower
501 Washington Street
Built 1926 / Closed early 1970s
Designed by Durham architects Atwood and
Nash and constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in
1926, the old training tower included a standpipe system,
smoke room, and safety net.
Located across the street from the
Durham Athletic Park, the 61-foot
structure is adjacent to the old city
garage. The drill
pad was originally its own traffic
island between Washington and Morris
In 1963, the portion of
Washington Street separating the
tower from the City Garage was
Both buildings were purchased by a
private party, and the exterior of
the tower was renovated. Both are
listed on the National Register of
The fire department's present training facilities are
located at 1008 E. Club Boulevard.
Early Fire Stations
original Station 2 was located on the north
side of W. Main Street, across from the W. Duke &
Sons cigarette factory, and built between 1888 and
1893. It was a wood-frame structure with a reservoir
in the rear. On August 3, 1903, a replacement
Station 2 (right) was opened. Designed by
Charlotte architects Hook and Sawyer, the two-story station cost
$7,500 and included a five-story hose tower. It was
relocated to 1001 Ninth Street in 1951. The old
station was demolished soon thereafter.
Station 3 (left) opened in 1911 in the 500
block of E. Main Street. The two-story brick
building housed a steamer and a hose wagon. In 1915,
Engine 3 received a motor apparatus. It was
relocated to 103 S. Driver Street in April 1953.
After closing as a fire station, the building served
as an automotive garage by the 1960s. It was
demolished around 1969.
The original Station 4 was
located at 21 Holloway Street, just east of Station 1.
Opened in 1912 the building housed a horse-drawn hook
and ladder company. It likely served until 1924, when
Station 1 was remodeled. The building was subsequently
In 1926, a new Station 4
opened at 619 McMannan Street, later named S. Mangum
Street. The single-story
station cost $14,350. It was relocated to 1801
Fayetteville Street in October 1958. The old station
was later demolished, but prior to the urban renewal
that removed the surrounding neighborhood in the
late 1960s and early 1970s.
Durham Fire Department
Durham Fire Department, Unofficial Site
Durham County Real Estate Records
Black Firefighters of North Carolina
National Register of Historic Places Database
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps via NC LIVE
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Rocky Mount / Wilson
This article was
updated in July 2009. A version of this article was published on FireNews.net on November 23, 2004.