Sepia Saturday - Fire House Memories

Central Fire Station - Market Square

Post mark June 15, 1908 7:30 PM Newburyport, Mass
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This building was once the public market house of the city built in 1823. It is remarkable in that it was designed by the famous architect Charles Bulfinch. Bulfinch also designed the new (1798) state house in Boston, Fanuiel Hall, and the reconstruction of the US Capitol building. (after it was burned by the British) In the mid 1800's it was converted to a fire house and police station. In 1991 it was redesigned for use as a theatre/arts center for Newburyport.

My brother-in-law was a firefighter stationed here for many years. He can remember the original horse harnesses for the old steamer engines were still hanging when he first started. He also tells of having to sand bag the north side of the building, which abuts the Merrimack River from the rising tide during the Blizzard of 1978. It was soon after the blizzard that headquarters moved into a new building in another part of the city.
Present day Firehouse Center for the Arts

When I was in kindergarten the big pre-summer vacation field trip, before we moved up to the "big school," was to the beach and to this fire station. There we got to climb on the equipment, see them shoot water from a fire hose, see the hose drying tower, and watch the firemen slide down the brass pole from their upstairs barracks. I can remember watching in fascination as each firefighter slid down the pole and then our own bus driver, Bob Currier, took a turn. Our two women teachers didn't partake in that event although it would have been a laugh to see that.

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