Charlotte Former and Historic Firehouses

Photos from 2005 and 2008. See more photos.

Last updated March 15, 2022

Change Log:

March 15, 2022 - Reformatted page, replaced small photos with larger versions, updated information, added numerous former engine houses now demolished, updated and expanded maps, etc.


Introduction

The history of the Charlotte Fire Department begins in 1830, with the purchase of the city's first fire engine. A company of volunteers was subsequently organized, and re-organized in the 1840s and 1850s. The Charlotte Fire Engine Company was replaced with a colored fire company, comprised of slaves, in 1858. The first steam engine was delivered in 1867, and a formal volunteer Charlotte Fire Department was created in 1875. The white volunteer companies were replaced by a career fire department in 1887, with the colored volunteer Neptune Company staying in service. By the turn of the century, the Queen City was protected with horse-drawn apparatus, notably hose wagons and a hook and ladder truck. And beginning in 1912, motorized apparatus was roaring down Charlotte's streets. Let's explore this early and later history through the city's former and historic firehouses.

Old Station 3 / Old Station 2

1212 South Boulevard
Opened 1909 / Closed 1948
Presently office space

Also known as the Dilworth fire station, the oldest extant engine house in Charlotte opened in early 1909 with three men, two horses, a combination chemical and hose wagon, and a steam engine. The 3,214-square-foot facility served the city's first suburban area, the "street car suburb" of Dilworth. At that time, four years had passed since Charlotte's last volunteer fire company disbanded. Though fully paid firemen had been answering calls since 1887, the department retained on-call personnel. The Neptune Fire Company ceased operation in 1905.

The Dilworth station was numbered Station 3 after closure of the E. Trade Street fire station in/around 1909, and renumbered Station 2 after the opening of new Station 4 on Louise Avenue in 1914. Other early twentieth-century developments in the history of the Charlotte Fire Department included the delivery of the first motorized fire engine in 1912, the retiring of horse-drawn apparatus in 1917, and the introduction of a two-platoon shift system in 1919.

By 1929, the Charlotte Fire Department had six stations and 117 firefighters operating three American LaFrance 1,000 GPM pumpers, three American LaFrance 750 GPM pumpers, one Seagrave 750 GPM pumper, one American LaFrance 75-foot aerial ladder, three American LaFrance city service trucks, and one American LaFrance 500 GPM pumper in reserve.

Old Station 2

1215 South Boulevard
Opened 1948 / Closed 1982
Current used as [TBD]

By the 1940s, the Dilworth fire station was too small to accommodate the city's increasingly larger fire engines. A three-bay, two-story replacement was constructed across the street at 1215 South Boulevard in 1948. The new, 6,497-square-foot station was twice the size of its predecessor.

In 1982, Station 2 was moved again, six blocks south to 1817 South Boulevard. Two years later, the former fire station was reacquired by the department and opened in December 1984 as headquarters for the newly formed Fire Investigation Task Force. It was comprised of fire investigators from the Charlotte Fire Department, arson investigators from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, special agents from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Old Station 4

420 West 5th Street
Opened 1925 / Closed 1972
Presently unoccupied?

In 1925, a new City Hall opened at 600 E. Trade Street. Central Fire Station, housed in the old City Hall, moved to 125 S. Davidson Street. The relocation moved the station six blocks east of the city center, so another engine house was opened in the core business district at W. 5th Street that year.

In 1972, Station 4 was relocated to 525 N. Church Street in the Fourth Ward. The old station was remodeled into office space. In 1997, the building was remodeled into an art gallery and antique shop. In 2001, the 5,360-square-foot facility was remodeled again as a fire museum. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fire Education Center and Museum opened in 2002. It closed in 2009, after the rent was raised and the property owner pursued commercial occupancy. In 2016, the building added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Old Station 10

2136 Remount Road
Opened 1957 / Closed 2005
Presently unoccupied

On May 16, 1957, Station 10 was placed in service with firefighters relocated from the Morris Field airport fire station, which was then closed. The single-story, two-bay brick building measured 7,766 square feet. The station also had a gated rear parking lot, common to Charlotte fire department facilities.

In January 2005, Station 10 was moved three blocks west to 2810 Wilkinson Boulevard. The four-bay, 15,000-square-feet station cost $2.2 million and housed Engine 10, Rescue 10, and Battalion 3.

Old Maintenance Shop

618 West 28th Street
Opened 1958 / Closed 1997
Presently fire department storage

In 1958, Central Station's "mechanical shop" was moved to a 6,538-square-foot facility at 618 West 28th Street. One year later, Station 11 opened next door at 620 West 28th Street.

After 85 years of servicing its own apparatus, the Charlotte Fire Department Maintenance Shop closed on May 1, 1997. The function was transferred the city's Business Support Services department, which contracts maintenance for all city vehicles. Used for storage, the building has housed some of the department's antique apparatus.

Old Training Tower

2601 East 7th Street
Opened 1938 / Closed 1977
Presently unoccupied

First proposed by Fire Chief Hendrix Palmer in 1930, construction of a "drill school and practice tower" started in 1938. The first completed structure was a six-story training tower that firefighters helped build. The training grounds were the site of the first recruit class in 1952, and a 20 by 20-foot smokehouse built in 1953. The smokehouse has since been demolished.

In 1977, the fire department's training facilities were moved to 1750 Shopton Road. The old tower is presently surrounded by office condominiums.

Palmer Fire School

2601 East 7th Street
Opened 1940 / Closed 1977
Presently serves as an event hall

Also built with the help of firefighters, the Palmer Fire School was dedicated on May 13, 1940. The 10,400-square-foot "Fireman's Hall" served as both a training center and a clubhouse for firefighters.

After training facilities were moved to Shopton Road in 1977, the tower and school building were transferred to the Parks and Recreation department. Civic groups used the buildings for everything from wilderness training to rehearsal space for the Charlotte Shakespeare Company. Purchased and restored by the Charlotte Fire Fighters Association in the 2000s, the renamed Palmer Building re-opened as a rental meeting hall.

Old Police/Fire Academy

1750 Shopton Road
Opened 1977 / Closed 2002
Presently police facility

In September 1977, a joint police and fire academy opened at 1750 Shopton Road. The accompanying training grounds included a new drill tower and burn building.

In July 2002, the 26,506-square-foot building was replaced by a larger facility next door. The older building presently serves as space for the police department.

Early Engine House - Active

Four early and mid-20th century fire stations are still in operation.

Station 5 - 224 Wesley Avenue (top left)
Opened in 1929. 

Station 6 - 249 S. Laurel Avenue (top right)
Opened in 1929. Renovated in 1989, the two-story structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Station 7 - 3210 N. Davidson Street (bottom right)
Opened in 1935. Renovated in 1991.

Station 8 - 1201 The Plaza (bottom left)
Opened in 1948.

Early Engine Houses - Demolished

Station 1 - 808 E. Trade
The first Station 1 was opened in 1887 at 808 E. Trade Street, later numbered 807, later numbered 220, in the former quarters of the Hornet Fire Company.

Sanborn Map

Station 1 - 6 E. 5th.
The second Station 1 opened in 1891 at 6 E. 5th. Street, in the rear of the new City Hall building. It relocated in 1925 to S. Davidson Street.

TBD / Sanborn Map

Station 1  - 125 S. Davidson
The third Station 1 opened in 1925 at 125 S. Davidson Street. It was relocated to 221 N. Myers Street in 1990.

Paul Wilkinson Collection

Station 2 - 704 N. Church
The first Station 2 opened in 1887 at 704 N. Church Street, in the former quarters of the Pioneer Fire Company. It relocated to S. Church Street circa 1904.

Sanborn Map

Station 2 - 9-11 S. Church
The second Station 2 opened circa 1904 at 9-11 S. Church Street. It closed in 1914 and the personnel and equipment were moved to Station 1.

Sanborn Map

Station 3 - 218 E. Trade
The first Station 3 opened at 218 E. Trade Street by 1900. Circa 1909 it was relocated to the new Dilworth fire station.

Sanborn Map

Station 3 - 818 Louise Avenue
The third Station 3 opened in 1917 at 818 Louisiana Avenue. It was relocated to Belmont Avenue in 1928.

Charlotte Fire Department

Station 3 - 1200 block Belmont Avenue
The fourth Station 3 opened in 1928. The two-story structure was closed in 1974, when Station 3 was relocated to 6512 Monroe Road.

Paul Wilkinson Collection

Maps

References

The Series

Charlotte
Durham
Fayetteville
Goldsboro
Greensboro
High Point
Kinston
New Bern
Raleigh
Rocky Mount / Wilson
Wilmington
Winston-Salem

Note

A version of this article was published on FireNews.net^ on March 4, 2005.

See more photos


Home

Search Mike Legeros

Spot an error on this page? Please let me know, just click my name below...

Copyright 2022 by Michael J. Legeros