|legeros.com > History > Former Firehouses > Kinston|
See more photos
In early 1895, a pair of devastating fires sparked an improvement in Kinston's firefighting forces. The river city purchased a Silsby steam engine and 2,000 feet of hose for its volunteer firefighters. Called Caswell No. 1, the steamer and a homebuilt hose reel were stored in a newly constructed engine house on the county courthouse lot. Both pieces of apparatus were hand-drawn at first, though two horses and a hose wagon were added the next year.
In 1897, Kinston's first water main was installed. In 1898, a hand-pulled hook and ladder wagon was purchased and staffed by members of the black community. In 1904, a new fire department was organized. Named Caswell Fire Company No. 1, their initial equipment consisted of three horses and two wagons. In 1908, a second fire company was formed to supplement the Caswell Company. The East Kinston Hose Reel Company operated a hand-pulled reel.
An electric telegraph fire alarm system with 25 boxes was installed in 1913; the first motorized piece of fire apparatus, a 750 GPM pumper, was purchased in 1918. Ten years later, the first full-time fire chief was hired.
Old Station 1
118 South Queen Street
Opened 1895 / Closed 1937
Presently museum and offices
Kinston's first fire station and first brick building was completed in 1895 on South Queen Street.
By 1901, the station also served as City Hall. The second floor housed the town offices and hose and bell tower had been added in the rear with a jail underneath.
By 1904, the station housed the Caswell Fire Company No. 1 after its formation that year.
By 1908, a single-story room beside the building had been added as sleeping quarters for firemen.
In 1937, both the fire department and the town offices relocated to 106 West King Street.
Continuously used since 1895 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building presently houses a fire museum downstairs and government offices upstairs
Seven fire hydrants from different time periods are displayed outside the building.
Old Station 1
106-110 West King Street
Opened 1937 / Closed 1962
In 1937, both Station 1 and City Hall relocated to 106 West King Street. The fire department occupied the far right side of the building.
By 1948, the fire alarm system was housed in the jail building behind City Hall.
In 1962, both Station 1 and City Hall relocated to 203 East King Street. The new City Hall was dedicated on October 18, 1962.
The 10,920 square-foot former municipal building presently serves as office space.
Old Station 2
104 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Opened after 1930 / Closed 1993
Presently career center
In March 1914, a new engine house was completed at 104 North Tiffany Street for the East Kinston Hose Reel Company. They were currently housed in the 700 block of East Caswell Street.
After 1930, their two-story wooden station was replaced by a single-story brick building at the same location. After 1948, the building was expanded to include sleeping quarters in the rear.
In later decades, the station also housed an engine and tanker that responded to calls in the county. The tanker was housed in an adjoining metal shed.
In 1993, Station 2's 1979 American LaFrance pumper overturned on South Queen Street. As the pumper was the last piece of apparatus that could fit inside the building, Station 2 was closed the same day.
The building is presently used as a career center.
Old Station 3
1916 West Vernon Avenue
Opened 1961 / Closed 1998
Presently car stereo shop
Two identical fire stations were opened in 1961, Station 3 at 1916 West Vernon Avenue and Station 4 at 200 North Plaza Avenue. Both were single-story brick structures.
Station 3 replaced a single-story structure at 708 North Heritage Street that was built in  and later replaced by a parking lot.
In 1998, a new Station 3 opened at 2207 Hull Road in a facility built by firefighters. The 3,117 square-foot former station is presently a car stereo shop.
Kinston's Central Fire Station at 203 East King Street, opened in 1962 along with the adjacent City Hall building, is slated for replacement in coming years. Lot locations under consideration include near Grainger Stadium off East Vernon Avenue. Central Fire Station is two-story facility with four apparatus bays facing East King Street and a fifth apparatus bay facing the rear. The building also houses the fire department's administrative offices.
A version of this article was published on FireNews.net on January 23, 2006.
See more photos
Copyright 2023 by Michael J. Legeros