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Eustis Street Firehouse [Jun. 18th, 2009|12:08 pm]
New England Structures and Buildings



Oldest firehouse to get new lease on life

Built in 1859, it once served as the home of the fire company known as Torrent Six. From 1919 to 1950, it was home to the local chapter of Spanish American War Veterans. It was used briefly by the city park department in the 1950s.

The firehouse today

Since then, it has fallen into disrepair. But now the Eustis Street Fire House will get a new lease on life. Historic Boston Inc., a private nonprofit that works to preserve historic sites in the city, plans to rehabilitate the Dudley Square building and move there from downtown, making the heart of Roxbury its home.
The firehouse at Eustis and Washington streets is Boston's oldest remaining fire station building. It's noted for its small size and ornate Italian decoration.
Historic Boston, which was formed around saving the Old Corner Bookstore on the Freedom Trail, said much of its work in saving historic buildings in downtown Boston is done.

In recent years, the group's efforts have focused on the city's neighborhoods. "By moving our operations to Dudley Square, we make the firehouse's redevelopment feasible and bring HBI closer to its mission of neighborhood preservation," said Kathy Kottaridis, who heads Historic Boston.

Construction of the firehouse is expected to begin in November. Historic Boston expects to move there in the fall of 2010.

eustis.jpg (74308 bytes)

Eustis Street Firehouse
20 Eustis Street Roxbury MA

Style: Italianate
Architect: John Roulestone Hall
Built: 1859 (Replaced wooden Greek Revial built in 1829)

The preservation and reuse of the firehouse {has the combined difficulties of} a marketable, insurable title since eaves overhang the cemetery and a now-demolished part of the structure was on land owned by a private abutter. Its isolated site and small square footage vitiates the financial feasibility of development. Structural problems continue to be severe... repairs included construction of six massive exterior wooden buttresses to support the building’s side elevations.

Significance: Eustis Street Firehouse, built by the city of Roxbury in 1859, stands on an original portion of the adjacent Eliot Burying Ground (established 1633) and replaced an 1829 wood frame firehouse on the same site. The brick firehouse is a fine example of a small-scale Italianate public building, highlighted with granite details and ornate wooden brackets. After Roxbury’s annexation in 1868, the city of Boston enlarged the building with a rear frame addition (demolished 1991) to accommodate stables and more modern fire fighting equipment.

Eustis Street Firehouse served "Hook and Ladder Co. No. 4" until 1881 and "Chemical Wagon No. 10" from 1889 until 1916. Company No. 4 participated in fighting the Great Boston Fire of 1872. The Fire Department abandoned the building in 1926 and leased the building to a Spanish-American War veterans post until 1954.

Oldest surviving firehouse in Boston
Charming Italianate architecture with granite arched entry and hand-carved brackets
Adjacent to 1633 burial ground
Ira Baline will act as senior project manager to provide planning and architectural services for the project.


Historic Boston - http://www.historicboston.org/
Photo: http://boston.about.com/od/photosofboston/ig/Historic-Photos-of-Boston/Old-Torrent-6.htm
Book = Roxbury By Anthony Mitchell Sammarco, Charlie Rosenberg
Marilyn Brockman - Master of Architecture - MIT 1979 - page 2, 44-47, 61-64, 90
Boston Fire History - http://bostonfirehistory.org/extantfirehousechemical10.html

Boston Globe June 18, 2009 08:00 AM http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/06/oldest_firehous.html