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EXTANT FORMER FIRE HOUSE

344 Congress Street, South Boston

Engine Company 38 / Engine Company 39

Engine Company 39 / Ladder Company 18

The firehouse at 344 Congress St., South Boston, nearing completion, in 1890.
The firehouse at 344 Congress St., South Boston, nearing completion, in 1890.

A description of the firehouse, from the Annual Report of the City Architect Department for 1890.
A description of the firehouse, from the Annual Report of the City Architect Department for 1890.

The engine house at 344 Congress St., South Boston, with horses being exercised at left, circa 1892.
The engine house at 344 Congress St., South Boston, with horses being exercised at left, circa 1892.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/ / CC BY-NC 2.0
The company of Engine 39 in front of quarters at 344 Congress St., South Boston, circa 1895.
The company of Engine 39 in front of quarters at 344 Congress St., South Boston, circa 1895.

Interior of 344 Congress St., with Engine 38's self-propelling steamer & the horse stalls at rear, c. 1898.
Interior of 344 Congress St., with Engine 38's self-propelling steamer & the horse stalls at rear, c. 1898.

A partial view of the firehouse at 344 Congress St., South Boston, with adjacent building, circa 1905.
A partial view of the firehouse at 344 Congress St., South Boston, with adjacent building, circa 1905.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/ / CC BY-NC 3.0
A partial view of the firehouse at 344 Congress St., South Boston, with adjacent building, circa 1905.
A partial view of the firehouse at 344 Congress St., South Boston, with adjacent building, circa 1905.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/ / CC BY-NC 3.0
Engine 39's 1971 Hahn pumper outside the firehouse at 344 Congress St., circa 1975.
Engine 39's 1971 Hahn pumper outside the firehouse at 344 Congress St., circa 1975.

HISTORY

This firehouse was built in 1890-1891 and double Engine Company 38 & 39 was organized here on May 18, 1891. They were the only companies organized as a double unit company in the history of the Boston Fire Department. Other fire companies shared quarters or operated as double units, but Engine 38 and Engine 39 were the only units organized as a double unit, with one captain in charge of both companies.

The firehouse is located at 344 Congress Street, at the corner of Farnsworth Street, in the warehouse district of South Boston, near Downtown.

The building was designed by City Architect Harrison H. Atwood. The building permit to construct the firehouse was issued May 27, 1890. Building Permit

The large land owner in the area, Boston Wharf Company, sold the land to the city for the express purpose of building a firehouse to serve the densely packed wool warehouse district.

Engine 38 and Engine 39 did not respond to incidents together. One or other always remained in quarters in order to maintain a fire protection presence in the area.

Seven firefighters responding from this station died in the Line Of Duty over the years.

On February 5, 1898, five firefighters were among six who died at the 'Merrimac Street Fire': Captain James H. Victory; Lieutenant George J. Gottwald; Hoseman Patrick H. Disken; Hoseman John H. Mulhern; Hoseman William J. Welch; all from Engine 38/39.

On May 17, 1937, Captain Edward S. Humphries died.(more information being developed).

On October 22, 1946, Firefighter Patrick J. Cady, Engine 39, died at a fire at 70 Chauncy Street, Downtown.

Engine 38 was disbanded on February 4, 1947.

In 1947 Engine 39 made the longest mutual-aid response in the history of the BFD, when the company responded to Biddeford, Maine, to assist with many large brush and woods fires.

On September 26, 1952, Ladder Company 8 moved into the firehouse while a new firehouse on Oliver St. in Fort Hill Square, Downtown, was being built. Ladder 8 moved out on September 11, 1953.

On November 17, 1953 Ladder Company 18 moved in from their former quarters at 9 Pittsburgh Street, about 50 yards away.

The firehouse was closed on April 22, 1977 and Engine 39 and Ladder 18 moved into new quarters at 272 D Street in South Boston.

In 1979 the Transportation Museum acquired ownership of the building and later dedicated the firehouse as the Arthur Fiedler Fire Museum in honor of the legendary Boston Pops conductor who was famous fire buff or 'spark', and who owned several pieces of antique fire apparatus.

In 1983 the Boston Sparks Association (BSA) acquired the firehouse and has operated the Boston Fire Museum (BFM) on this site since that time.

A plaque is mounted on the exterior of the firehouse to commemorate a Boston firefighter and Life Member of the BSA/BFM who died in the Line-Of-Duty:

The memorial plaque honoring a member of the BSA/BFM who lost his life in the Line Of Duty.

The Fire Museum is open for visitors on a schedule established on a yearly basis, usually on Saturdays 11AM - 5PM, year-round, or by appointment.

1919 map shows the location of the firehouse at 344 Congress Street, South Boston.
1919 map shows the location of the firehouse at 344 Congress Street, South Boston.

The firehouse of Engine 38/39 at 344 Congress St., South Boston, circa 1920.
The firehouse of Engine 38/39 at 344 Congress St., South Boston, circa 1920.

A restored 1945 Ward LaFrance pumper in front of the Boston Fire Museum, 344 Congress Street, South Boston, circa 1995.
A restored 1945 Ward LaFrance pumper in front of the Boston Fire Museum,
344 Congress Street, South Boston, circa 1995.


The firehouse at 344 Congress St., South Boston, now the Boston Fire Museum, circa 2002.
The firehouse at 344 Congress St., South Boston, now the Boston Fire Museum, circa 2002.




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