| Durham Former Firehouses
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The first fire equipment purchased by town officials
was a pair of ladders and a half dozen chains
authorized in 1871. Durham's first fire company was
formed in 1876, when a meeting was held by citizens for
the purpose of organizing a fire department. By 1880,
Durham Fire Company consisted
of Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 and Bucket
Company No. 1.
Subsequent decades saw the addition of
chemical wagons, hose wagons, and horses. The first
steam engine was purchased in 1903 and the first motor
truck was placed in service in 1912. The Durham Fire
Department was fully-paid at that point, having
reorganized as a career department six years
Durham's first "modern" fire station opened in
December 1891, a
two-story, red-brick structure built on the
southeast corner of Mangum and Holloway streets.
It was replaced with a newer building that opened in
1925. That engine house still stands,
along with other former fire department structures
that trace the history of the Durham Fire
Old Fire Station 1
212 N. Mangum Street
Opened 1925 / Closed 1964
Presently a restaurant
Built on the site of the original 1891
fire station, the larger building
included such design changes as a rear
apparatus bay and moving bell tower
and its 829-pound alarm bell from the
rear to the front of the building. It
opened in December 1925.
In the summer of 1964, a new Station 1 was completed
at 139 East Morgan Street. The old
fire bell was also moved and is displayed
outside the main entrance.
The 6,974 square-foot historic
structure was converted for use by
the police department. It also served as an office
building for years, and was
remodeled as a restaurant in 2009.
Old Fire Station 3
103 S. Driver Street
Opened 1956 / Closed 1998
Presently Public Works facility
The two-bay brick structure at the corner of South Driver
and East Main Streets replaced the original Station 3,
opened in 1903 in the 500 block of East Main Street.
In 1998, both Engine 3 and Engine 8 relocated to a
new Station 3 at 822 North Miami Boulevard. The 2,380
square-foot structure is presently a
Public Works facility.
Old Fire Station 4
1801 Fayetteville Street
Opened 1958 / Closed 1999
Presently campus police station
Replacing a 1926 building at the northeast corner of McMannan and
Cobb streets, Station 4 was first
staffed by an all African-American
The ten men were Durham's first
black firefighters since the volunteer
Excelsior Hook and Ladder Company of
the early 1880s.
In 1999, Engine 4 relocated to a
new station at 1818 Riddle Road. Their
1,088 square-foot old engine house is
presently used by North Carolina Central
University, which remodeled the
building for its police
Old Fire Station 8
2725 Holloway Street
Opened 1974 / Closed 1997
Presently EMS station
Station 8 was built as a Public Safety station during the
period that the city combined the positions of police
officer and firefighter. Started in 1970, the
Safety program ended in 1985.
The Public Safety station was closed
in the summer of 1997, and Engine 8
was relocated to another station.
In 1998, both Engine 8 and Engine 3 relocated to a
new Station 3 at 822 North Miami Boulevard. In June 2005, a new
Station 8 opened at 225 Lick Creek
Drive near the Grove Park subdivision.
The 1,184 square-foot former station
is presently used by Durham County
Emergency Medical Services.
Old Training Tower
501 Washington Street
Built 1926 / Closed circa 1977
Designed by Durham architects Atwood and
Nash and constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in
1926, the old training tower included a standpipe system,
smoke room, and safety net.
Located across the street from the
Durham Athletic Park, the 61-foot
structure is adjacent to the old city
garage. The drill
pad was originally its own traffic
island between Washington and Morris
In 1963, the portion of
Washington Street separating the
tower from the City Garage was
closed. In/around 1997, the
department's training facilities were
moved to a new facility at 2008 E.
Club Boulevard. The new training
center was dedicated September 11,
Both buildings were purchased by a
private party, and the exterior of
the tower was renovated. Both are
listed on the National Register of
Early Fire Stations
original Station 2 was located on the north
side of W. Main Street, across from the W. Duke &
Sons cigarette factory, and built in 1892. It was a wood-frame structure with a reservoir
in the rear. On August 3, 1903, a replacement
Station 2 (right) was opened. Designed by
Charlotte architects Hook and Sawyer, the two-story
station cost $7,500 and included a five-story hose
tower. It was relocated to 1001 Ninth Street in 1950.
The old station was later demolished.
Station 3 (left) opened in 1912 in the 500
block of E. Main Street. The two-story brick
building housed a steamer and a hose wagon. In 1915,
Engine 3 received a motor apparatus. It was
relocated to 103 S. Driver Street in April 1956.
After closing as a fire station, the building served
as an automotive garage by the 1960s. It was
demolished around 1969.
The original Station 4 was
located at 21 Holloway Street, just east of Station 1.
Opened in 1912 the building housed a horse-drawn hook
and ladder company. It likely served until 1924, when
Station 1 was rebuilt. The building was subsequently
In 1926, a new Station 4
opened at 619 McMannan Street, later named S. Mangum
Street. The single-story
station cost $14,350. It was relocated to 1801
Fayetteville Street in October 1958. The old station
remained operational, housing the white fire company
displaced from Station 5. They moved into the new
Station 5 on Chapel Hill Road, when it opened in 1960.
The McMannan Street fire station
was later demolished, but prior to the urban renewal
that removed the surrounding neighborhood in the
late 1960s and early 1970s.
Durham Fire Department
Durham Fire Department, Unofficial Site
Durham County Real Estate Records
Black Firefighters of North Carolina
National Register of Historic Places Database
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps via NC LIVE
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Rocky Mount / Wilson
This article was
updated in July 2009, and with numerous date and
text corrections in February 2020. A version of this article was published on FireNews.net on November 23, 2004.