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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Breck Chapman, 02/2004
Paca Street Firehouse
Inventory No.: B-3695
Other Name(s): Truck House No. 2
Date Listed: 10/28/1983
Location: 106 N. Paca Street (now 118 N. Paca Street), Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1909-1910
Architect/Builder: Architect: J.E. Laferty
Description: This firehouse is a 1909 two-story brick structure with a highly detailed stone Renaissance Revival east façade that consists of a recessed arched doorway with replacement doors; a balcony on the second story below a stretch of three windows; broad, flat, rusticated pilasters; and a modillioned cornice. The first floor interior which is one large space and the reveals of the recessed entranceway are covered with polychrome tiling laid in simple geometric patterns. The upper story of the interior is divided into two main sections. The principal space is a large room subdivided at the Paca Street end into offices. The remaining and smaller space is along the back, consisting of utility rooms and bathrooms. The principal woodwork throughout is architrave molding. Significance: The significance of the Paca Street Firehouse is drawn from the history and the architectural character of the building. The firehouse was built in 1909 as part of a citywide movement to upgrade significantly Baltimore’s fire-protection system. Following the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, in which more than 140 acres of the downtown area was destroyed, Baltimore began an active program to expand and improve the fire department. By 1923, the department had almost doubled its number of companies and tripled the staff. The Paca Street Firehouse typifies this form of municipal architecture in being a small masonry structure with a heavy Renaissance Revival façade. In viewing the building in the context of the retail district, the structure is one of three early 20th century firehouses standing and is the only one to retain its original features, particularly in the interior. Additional significance comes through association with August Emrich (1864-1954) who as chief engineer supervised the modernization of the Baltimore Fire Department. Emrich was stationed in the Paca Street Firehouse for most of his tenure as Deputy Chief and Chief Engineer.

 

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