A Trip Back in Time: The History of the Gardner (MA) Lake Street Fire Station

Courtesy photo.

According to a report from The Gardner News, Gardner, Massachusetts’, Lake Street Fire Station was one of two fire facilities in the town when it was dedicated in 1885, also the year of the town’s centennial.

When construction started in September 1884, The Gardner News reported it as a “substantial brick structure, 64 x 40 feet, with the first floor devoted to the engines–the main room was 49 x 39 feet.”

At the station, the engine held there was the Torrent No. 2, a hand tub used by the hand brigade that was very effective in fighting fires. In addition, Gardner (truck) 4, a ladder truck, and hose reels were all stored in the main room.

The first-floor room featured double doors as well as a repair room, washing facilities, a closet, and a stairway. The hose tower, which opened into the engine room, was one of the station’s best features, offering accommodations for 1,300 feet of hose and arranged with weighted ropes and a tank for washing the hose, so that the amount of work required would be comparatively small.

At the building’s southwest corner was one of the town’s first “lockups” (jails) with two cells. The second floor contained a second repair room and other facilities. The attic was not finished at the time of dedication.

The first Torrent Engine and the Cataract Engine at the South Gardner Fire Station were the two new hand-tubs the town purchased in 1852. The Torrent was kept at Gardner’s first engine house at its center, next to the old library on Pearl Street.

In 1884, during the construction of the Lake Street Station, the Torrent Engine House was sold at auction to George B. Hager for $261 and was scheduled to be moved to North Main Street near the site of the Episcopal Church, where Hager intended to convert it into a store.

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