Tag: Firehouses

  • Truck Co. No. 50, Lafayette Hilltop

    Truck Co. No. 50, Lafayette Hilltop

    An elegant little classical firehouse, still in use as a medic station, on Lafayette Avenue at the corner of Federal Street. It dates from before 1910 and after 1903.

    From Federal Street
  • Beechview Firehouse on Top of an Old Church

    Beechview firehouse

    The firehouse in Beechview is a simple modernist box that seems to have nothing to recommend a second look. At least, nothing from the front; but take a closer look at the foundation.


    This does not look like a typical postwar modernist construction, and in fact it is something else entirely. The firehouse was built on top of an old Presbyterian church.

    The Beechview United Presbyterian Church divided early in its history. Some congregational argument caused part of the congregation to split off and build a church here in 1918. The foundation of the current firehouse is that church—by which we mean not that it was the foundation of the church, but that it was the church itself. Old Pa Pitt does not know what the intention was; he can only assume that a larger building would eventually have been built on top of it. But old pictures show that this foundation was simply roofed over, with a stubby absurd tower on the corner. Half a dozen steps led up to the entrance in this tower, and then there was nowhere to go but down.

    In 1938, twenty years after the breakup, the two Presbyterian churches in Beechview got back together again, and the combined congregation still uses the Beechview United Presbyterian Church on Broadway. But the old church remains as the basement of the firehouse, and we can still pick out the outlines of the Tudor Gothic windows in the stones if we look closely.

    Outlines of old windows
  • Engine House No. 22, Arlington

    This little old firehouse, built in 1894 (according to the sign), has been lovingly restored as a private residence, complete with its own tower and a roof deck that must have a spectacular view. (Those yellow signs in the windows inform the world that the owner has official permission from the city to use a roof deck in his private residence.)

  • Engine Company 10, West End

    Engine Company 10

    When classical architecture meets Art Deco in a government building, they form a style old Pa Pitt likes to call American Fascist. He calls it that because it’s similar to the streamlined classicism favored by Mussolini and Hitler, and because its favorite ornament is the fasces, as we see right at the top of the façade of this firehouse, which is now a police station. For some reason the fasces declined in popularity as an ornament on American government buildings after the Second World War.

  • Engine House Fifty-Seven, Brookline

    Firehouse in Brookline

    A firehouse that looks like the Platonic ideal of a firehouse. The tower commands a view that must extend for miles: not only is the tower itself tall, but the station is built at the crest of a hill.

  • Engine Company No. 28, Shadyside

    A large classical firehouse with its front on Filbert Street and a long, well-designed side on Elmer Street.

    The Filbert Street front.

    Arms of the city of Pittsburgh, on the left side of the front.

    Arms of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on the right side of the front.

    The Elmer Street side looks like an Italian Renaissance palace.

  • Engine House Fifty-Seven

    Brookline firehouse

    A firehouse that looks very much like a firehouse, this was built in 1910, when the neighborhood was young, at a high point from which a fireman in the tower could see for miles.

    Brookline firehouse
  • Engine Company No. 3

    This fine old firehouse on Arch Street, a city-designated historic structure, is exactly what you think of when you think of a firehouse. It’s been empty for some time, but its Central Northside neighborhood is growing more and more fashionable among restoration fanatics, and scaffolding inside suggests that the old firehouse will not be empty much longer.

    Map The firehouse is on the southeast corner of Arch Street and Jacksonia Street. Behind it is the aptly named Fireman Way.