06/22/14 403 W, 3 I - + 9 - 6 The Mystery of the Plaque on Old Station 4

Have you ever noticed that the plaque on old Station 4 on Jefferson Street reads 1924? Yet your trusty historian has always cited 1926 as the year built? Who's right, who's wrong, and what happened?

My source for construction year are City Council minutes, researched in the early- and mid-2000s. The lot was purchased on October 26, 1925, from Hubert D. Arnold and his wife for $1,700. The construction bid was awarded on February 19, 1926--previously and elsewhere incorrectly cited as February 18--to John F. Danielson for $8,754.00.

The station opened on June 15, 1926. The log book recorded that date and information including their first call (Box 432) and the first crew assigned (Capt. C. F. Gaston; Lt. J. G. Harrison Hose man; J. A. Allen, Driver; B. A. Edwards, Hydrant man; K. J. Smith, Hose man; E. D. King, Driver; H. L. Riverbark, Hose man; E. B. Schineder, Hydrant man. Click to enlarge:

When was the plaque made for the building? Probably around November 19, 1996, which was the effective date of a ordnance designating the building as a Raleigh Historic Landmark. The application was made by the Wake County Historic Preservation Committee, if reading the papers correctly. And the report on the building was made by the Raleigh Historic Districts Commission.

The report's historical background cites "circa 1925" as the construction year. Their sources included oral histories, county real estate records, fire department histories by B. T. Fowler and Elizabeth Davis Reid, and Raleigh City Directories. The latter appears their primary source for the circa 1925. Notes the report:

"Station Number Four first appears in Raleigh City Directories in 1925 under the Raleigh Fire Department heading with C. F. Gaston shown as captain that year. Oddly, the station is not listed under the Jefferson Street [index] entry until 1927, although the 1926 listing of people shows Charles F. Gaston, Captain, Raleigh Fire Department, living at 505 Jefferson."

Thus a reasonable inferrence in lieu of exact information, which Yours Truly uncovered a decade later. This via City Council minutes on microfilm, at Olivia Raney Local History Library. Mystery solved! And maybe someday a corrected plaque will be added to the building. You never know.

Read a history of Station 4, and its varied locations. View the bid document (PDF) from 1926. See photos of the historic building on Jefferson Street, in my album of Historic Firehouses of Raleigh.

Mike could this be the year it was approved and funded by council?
Rod Warner (Email) - 06/22/14 - 23:56

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