Station 1

220 S. Dawson Street

Opened October 5, 1953

Faces east
View plaque

11,200 square feet, two stories
Architect: F. Carter Williams / Builder: Clancy Construction


History:  Station 1 opened on December 23, 1912 at 112 W. Morgan Street. It was the first of three fire stations for the newly reorganized Raleigh Fire Department. Hose Company 1, the first of three fully-paid fire companies, was placed in service with a horse-drawn hose wagon. Hose 1 was motorized in February of the following year with a 1913 American LaFrance combination hose wagon.

Truck Company 1 was placed in service three years later with a 1916 American LaFrance tractor-drawn aerial ladder. The truck company also staffed a service ladder truck delivered in 1922. Station 1 also housed the equipment of the electric-telegraph fire alarm system until a separate fire alarm building was constructed in 1926.

Opened in spring 1896, the former quarters of the volunteer Capital Hose and Hook and Ladder companies was 60 feet long, 42 feet wide, and the top of the four-story hose tower was 75 feet from the ground. The first floor included quarters for the Capital Hose Company wagon, the Hook & Ladder Company truck, the reserve double-tank chemical engine, and the chief's buggy. The stables were also located on the first floor.

The second floor contained sleeping rooms for the drivers, an assembly room, and the batteries and other fire alarm system equipment. After 1912, the Morgan Street station was expanded with a two-story rear addition, and the tower started serving as a training tower. In 1914, the fire alarm bell was moved to the tower from Metropolitan Hall. The bell was 44 years old.

The original construction bid was awarded to Hicks, Ellington, and Co. for $4,000 on July 5, 1895. The Morgan Street lot was the site of earlier Capital Hose and Hook and Ladder engine houses, both of which were demolished. Temporary quarters just west of the lot were utilized until the new headquarters fire station was completed at a cost of $5,500, including land.

A supply room in the rear was added in fiscal year 1906. Other renovations included a granolithic floor for the new steamer added in fiscal year 1906 and a complete overhaul of the building in the spring of 1898 due to faulty construction.

In May 1913, the building received a new coat of red paint. In March 1914, a temporary shed for the housing of the hook and ladder truck was reported as completed on the east side of the station, with nearly all of the work done by firemen.

In January 1917, Fire Chief Charles Farmer recommended that the station be sold to the state, and a relocating the fire station to the old Woodall stable site on East Morgan Street, for a "modern fire station and municipal garage."

In November 1917, Station 3 was closed and the hose company was moved to Station 1 on West Morgan Street. To accommodate the move, Station 1 was being repaired and enlarged, with the "large sleeping hall" being "cut up into rooms, each to be used by two firemen." This change would also give the firemen "more privacy in their sleeping quarters." This was reported on November 11, 1917.  In February 1918, firemen added a "war garden" to the corner lot adjacent to the fire station. This was reported on February 12, 1918.

In March 1938, the the tower at Station 1 on West Morgan Street demolished. For years the city had wanted to demolish the combination bell, hose, and training tower, which is several inches off-center. Considered cost-prohibitive, the demolition finally started during construction of an addition to the adjacent Revenue Building. Contractor H. L. Coble couldn't get his trucks through the seven-foot alley between the buildings, so the wrecking job was performed for free.

In 1939, the Morgan Street station was condemned by the city building inspector and planning started for a replacement fire station. On June 27, 1941, the property was sold to the state for $35,000, for a planned addition to the adjacent Revenue Building. On the same day, a $15,000 lot was purchased on South Dawson Street for a new fire station.

Station 1 relocated to old Station 2 at 412 S. Salisbury Street on August 12, 1941. The Salisbury Street station was considerably smaller and only housed Engine 1, the Fire Chief, and the switchboard. The aerial ladder and service ladder truck were relocated to Station 2, and Engine 2 joined Engine 1 at Station 1.

The old station was demolished that summer. The site for the replacement was located on Dawson Street beside Union Depot. The lot measured 70 by 236 feet. The city administration had been working on the new station project since 1939, and had visited stations in other cities. Construction was delayed for several years, however, for reasons including the unavailability of building materials during World War II. 

Also housed on the South Dawson Street property was a new building to house the fire alarm system. Construction on the alarm house building started August 12, 1941. Completed in 1942, the building cost $3,500 and included window frames and other materials salvaged from Old Station 1.

The present Station 1 opened on October 5, 1953 at 220 S. Dawson Street and initially housed Engine 1, a new engine company named Engine 9, the aerial ladder truck from Station 2, and the newly formed Raleigh Emergency Rescue Squad. It also housed the offices of the Fire Chief, the two Assistant Chiefs, and the Fire Prevention Bureau.

The $142,106 station was dedicated on the same day. The City Manager presided over the ceremonies which included short speeches from the Mayor, City Council members, and the Fire Chief. Immediately after the ceremonies, members of the fire department's Ladies Auxiliary held an open house and conducted tours until 9:00 p.m.

Since 1953, Station 1 has operated two engines and a truck company. The second engine company has been numbered Engine 9, Engine 10, Engine 15, and Engine 13. The second engine was also out of service between February 1965 and March 1969.

Station 1 housed a rescue company from 1953 to 1976, and later a Battalion Chief from 1971 to 2004, and a Division Chief from 1992 to 2001. Special units at the Dawson Street station have included a squad truck, a foam unit, a light unit, a fire investigation unit, an air unit, and a field communications unit.

Station 1 is the only three-company fire station in Raleigh.

Last updated: November 29, 2020

Mike Legeros photo, 2012

Second Station 1 - Salisbury Street

First Station 1 - Morgan Street

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This page was last updated on 12/01/20 09:02:20 PM