Ed Note: This 1931 article from Fire Engineering covers two new fire department structures in Ft. Worth, Texas. It’s a great read of station designs of long ago, but also an excellent example of how cognizant former chiefs and designers were of firefighter health and safety. For example, for the fire station (the other structure was for alarm signals), features a 36 x 75 gymnaisum. In 1931, firefighter fitness was considered important enough to add the gym.
Also notice the attention to details. Many stations we see designed today are intended to blend in with their surroundings, to incorporate similar architectural features. Although not a priority in that way here, there were many architectural features that lend to the charm of the building.
Enjoy this look back at station design from years gone by.
Chris Mc Loone, Editor
The Last Word in Fire House Construction Embodied in Two New Stations for Fort Worth
Texas City Builds a Headquarters and a Fire Alarm Signal Station to be Proud Of—Description of the Two Buildings
IN the construction of the two Fort Worth Fire Stations described in this article, the architects, Wyatt C. Hedrick, Inc., have not strictly adhered to any set school, but rather have chosen the best and most suitable part for the purposes intended. The buildings consist of a Fire Department headquarters and a Fire Alarm Signal Station, both located at Texas and Cherry Streets. The two structures are of reinforced concrete construction, the outline of the walls in face brick with cast stone trimmings. The main building has a roof of variegated clay tile, with red as the predominating color. Both buildings were carried out according to the same scheme.
Lay-Out of the Main Building
Under the main building is a basement in which are installed the boilers serving both structures. On the first floor are the apparatus room, the captain’s office and telephone room, a living room and main stair hall to the second floor, and two storage rooms. A paint room and repair shop occupy the one-story part of the building.
The main entrance, giving access also to the second floor, is on Cherry Street. An additional entrance is provided on the opposite side of the building.
Commodious and Comfortable Living Room
The living room, commodious and comfortable, has tile floors and base and the stair hall, in addition, has an ornamental tile wainscoat and tile stairs. In the captain’s room and telephone room the floors are of terrazo. Other floors on the first floor generally are of concrete. The walls and columns in the apparatus room are faced with tile to the ceiling, while the remaining walls, except in the paint room, are plastered.
The Second Floor of the Main Building
On the second floor of the main building are the offices of the Chief, the Fire Marshal and the Assistant Chief. A bedroom and bath adjoin the Chief’s office, while two other bedrooms, with connecting bath, are provided. On that floor also is a gymnasium, 36 by 75 feet, with an apparatus room adjoining; a dormitory, 55 1/2 by 68 1/2 feet; kitchen, bathroom and showers, storage room and drying room. Three metal slide poles enable the firemen to reach the apparatus room with the necessary celerity.
Floors and Woodwork
The floor of the gymnasium is of maple, while the floor in most of the remainder of the second floor is of terrazzo. Fifty lockers for the clothing of the firemen line the walls of the dormitory. The bathroom has a marble wainscoat and partitions, while the baths themselves and the kitchen have a tile wainscoating four feet in height. All woodwork on the second floor is of birch, finished in walnut, except the slide poles and the doors to the stair halls, which are of hollow metal.
Exit Doors of Overhead Type
To the rear of the apparatus room is a hose tower, the topmost point of which is 64 feet above the grade level. The exit doors to the apparatus room, through which the fire-fighting equipment charges on its way to answer alarms, are of the overhead type, operated from the wheel of the trucks. The arrangement cuts to a minimum the time required for the machines to be on their way to a blaze.
The building is adequately heated by a combination of direct and indirect systems, the heated air being circulated. through the large apparatus room by means of huge fans.
The Lay-Out of the Signal Station
The first floor of the Signal Station building offers space for a garage, a battery room, workshop, “cut-off” room and showers. A part of the lower story has terrazzo floors, and the battery room has a floor of acidproof mastic. The second floor has a radio room and fire alarm switchboard room, occupying three-fourths the space of the building. These two rooms have been given an acoustical quieting treatment. They also have terrazzo floors, and the switchboard room has a fivefoot glazed tile wainscoating.
The signal station is located immediately to the west of the main building.
List of Apparatus Installed in Signal Station
The list of Gamewell apparatus installed in the Fort Worth Fire Alarm Central Office is given below:
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Two New Stations for Ft. Worth
(Continued from page 762)
3 20-ckt. Floating Battery Switchboards 10 4-ckt. Box Line Operating Boards
2 4-ckt. Primary Alarm Operating Boards
2 4-ckt. Secondary Alarm Operating Boards
1 Low Current Alarm Set
1 60-ckt Protector Boards
1 Operator’s Pedestal of:
2 Peerless Transmitters
2 8-ckt. Multiple Keys Spring Jack Switches
2 Locking Yoke Telegraph Keys
1 4-ckt. Nonpareil Register
1 Excelsior Time Stamp
1 60-ckt. Box Line Frame
1 Box Fine Recording Set of:
10 4-ckt. Nonpareil Registers
10 Peerless Take-up Reels
1 Primary and Secondary Recording Set of:
4 4-ckt. Nonpareil Registers
4 Peerless Take-up Reels
1 Self-Winding Clock
4 90″ 5-shelf Metal Battery Racks
900 Cells BTIS Battery
Cost of Land. Buildings and Building Equipment
Total Investments ………………………… $422,640
Estimated present annual savings in Fire Insurance premiums paid by Fort Worth citizens due to these improvements …………………………………………$22,500
General Information Fort Worth Fire Department
271 Officers and men employed in Fort Worth under Double Platoon System
24 Fire companies occupying 21 stations
Present fire department budget ………………..$500,840.
Of this salaries amount to ……………………. 450,120.
36 Pieces of motorized equipment and 35 automobiles.
23 miles of underground fire alarm cable.
70 miles of overhead fire alarm wire.
402 Fire Alarm Boxes in City.
33 Street traffic signals controlled from Fire Signal Station. 40,000 feet of fire hose in service.
Four mechanics constantly employed, repairing and rebuilding apparatus.
Total value of the fire department (Land, buildings, equipment)………………………………………$1,360,600.