City’s Oldest Active Fire Hall Designated Historic

 

A new fire hall will eventually be built in order to preserve the John T. Windrim-designed Engine 37 in Chestnut Hill. | Photo: Jana Shea, for NewsWorks

A new fire hall will eventually be built in order to preserve the John T. Windrim-designed Engine 37 in Chestnut Hill | Photo: Jana Shea, NewsWorks

It’s a fine day for the legacy of Philadelphia architect John Torrey Windrim (1866-1934), as the preservation (and expansion) of two of his buildings lead our links this morning.

  • The Philadelphia Historical Commission has unanimously voted to protect the exterior of the oldest active fire station in the cityWindrim’s 1894 Engine 37 at 101 West Highland Avenue in Chestnut Hill, reports NewsWorks. For its first two decades, Engine 37’s nine and a half foot wide doors were more than enough to accommodate horse-drawn carriages, but since 1916 the firehouse has had difficulty in fitting the ever-increasing size of truck models. Now another—hopefully complementary—facility will likely rise on the city-owned lot next to the Richardsonian Romanesque building, which would serve as the expanded facility’s living quarters.
  • Singaporean American artist Meei Ling Ng found the perfect vacant lot for her year-long Social Practice Lab residency at the Asian Arts Initiative when the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission and Roman Catholic High School were preparing to swap parking lots late last year. The artist plans to convert the 2,000-square-foot unused section into a vertical urban garden that will provide the Rescue Mission with fresh produce, while granting skills-training for “workers at Overcomers, an intensive 16-month program for men in recovery from addiction and homelessness,” says Flying Kite.
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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1 Comment


  1. “CHHS would want to see the new building have some important reference to the 121 year-old fire hall” Maybe it should reference the demolished police station, partially visible in the pictures. The two buildings evidently shared an arched gateway.

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