Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Historic Fire Station, Phoenix, AZ

Today I have a series of photos that were sent to me from GDB friend Scott Heinz; you probably know him better as "Alonzo P. Hawk" in the comments. Scott happened to be driving along North 7th Avenue in Phoenix (Arizona, that is) when he saw that Historic Fire Station #8 had some beautiful vintage vehicles on display. Being a quick thinker (and a great dancer), he snapped these pictures. Hooray!

Here's some info from the DPJ (Downtown Phoenix Journal) website: This quaint, Mission-style building on 7th Avenue and Encanto Boulevard appears as just another fine residence in the Willo Historic District, but its nearly 70-year history shows its civic roll in the expansion of the city center in the World War II era boom of the region.

Built in 1942 and renovated several times, the building has been a single-family residence, a glorified storage unit, an office space and the City of Phoenix Fire Station #8. It was perhaps the city’s most unique-looking fire station, and rightly so. All the signs of Mission architecture are in plain sight: a hipped, clay tile roof with exposed rafters; stucco sheathing covering brick walls on a concrete foundation; wood casement windows; and an offset entry featuring a multiple wood panel door.

A stone marker indicating the building's historic status, carved thousands of years ago. Probably?

I tried to find information about this wonderful Firetruck, and it was tough going. But I believe that this is a 1941 Chevy-Pirsch pumper. If anybody knows more (or has a correction) please chime in! I love that impressive chrome grille.

Someone on Twitter referred to this as the "fire chief's car", but I have no idea if that's accurate. It sure is all kinds of 70's amazing. I'll bet it had some serious horsepower. Does anybody know the make and model? 

More from the DPJ website: Take note of the two-leaf bi-fold garage door, still in excellent condition. It was the vision of original resident E.B. Smerdon, who lived in the home from its completion until 1947, when it was converted to Station #8.

An unlikely candidate for a fire station, yes, but today the building is a perfect representation of the need for rapid fire station expansion following World War II, as the “suburbs” (a centralized historic district today) sprouted quickly.

Scott also included a few old images that he found online; I wonder if those four guys were the entire company for Station #8? They had a dalmatian puppy to help at least.

Here's another set of historic photos (with one repeat).

Thanks to Scott Heinz for sharing these fun photos of Historic Fire Station #8 in Phoenix, Arizona!


TokyoMagic! said...

I love the fact that the fire station is still used and hasn't been torn down or remodeled, in favor of something larger or more modern. The fire chief's car reminds me of a Match Box car that I have from childhood. And the fire engine parked outside (in the black and white photos), reminds me of the same style of fire engine that we had at a neighborhood park. It was up on concrete blocks and you could climb all over the thing and spin the wheels. Unfortunately, it was removed from the park some years ago, along with all of the other cool playground equipment from my childhood.

Thanks for sharing these with us Alonzo/Scott and Major!

Nanook said...


What a fine-looking fire station. I was gonna say all that's missing is the Dalmatian, but I see [it] finally made an appearance. I can't verify what company made that old fire truck, but it was definitely built on a 1941-1947 Chevrolet Truck chassis. And as for that 'late model' "fire chief's car", it appears to be a 1977 Dodge Monaco police car (model).

Thanks to Alonzo P. Hawk for sharing these images.

Andrew said...

This is different, but very cool! I would've never learned about this otherwise. I bet some little boys saw the firetruck in the garage and wished that they had the same. It's kind of weird seeing a post of mostly modern images on GDB! Thanks to Major and Alonzo!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Wow Major, you went much further down the research rabbit hole than I did. Sorry I wasn't able to come up with it myself but it was just a quick stop along the path of a busy day. I don't know why the vehicles were out on display (typical mid-week day)as I have been by it since and they are locked up in the garage or in the back yard.
Just luck I drove by and caught them in the driveway. Thanks for posting.

JC Shannon said...

It just goes to show, history is all around us. Buildings we pass every day have a story to tell. Thanks to Alonzo and Major for sharing these awesome scans and the story behind them.

K. Martinez said...

Wow! What a beautiful fire station and with a unique history too. Love the mission architecture combined with the classic vehicles. Both vehicles are beauties.

One of the things that makes GDB special to me are the unique articles and reader contributions. This is a really good example. Thanks Alonzo/Scott for the pics and Major for the research and hosting.

zach said...

What a nice change of pace! Thanks Alonzo and Major. There are a few of these stations in San Jose (not the vintage vehicles but converted homes).

Thanks for sharing and for the research.


"Lou and Sue" said...

I love these side trips. They’re always interesting and fun - especially with everyone on this blog. A field trip with my fellow gorillas!

Thanks Scott and Major!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Major and Alonzo/Scott.

Very cool stuff.


Chuck said...

Note how the letters on the Phoenix Fire Department's logo in the last image are strangely reminiscent of the post-Santa Fe lettering on the DLRR.

Thanks, for sharing this with us, Alonzo!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, yeah, it is kind of a miracle that the little fire station hasn’t been bulldozed for “luxury condos” or a strip mall. Do you still have that Match Box car? I know you save lots of stuff from your childhood! The fire engine you were able to climb on sounds like tons of fun for kids.

Nanook, How in the world can you tell that the firetruck is on a Chevy chassis??

Andrew, every once in a while there have been contemporary photos on GDB - but it IS pretty rare.

Alonzo, I love looking up stuff based on clues, though I am often not as successful as I’d like. Luckily I have you guys to take up the slack! Thanks for sharing these pix.

Jonathan, you are so right, history really is all around us. It just takes a little knowledge to put things in context!

K. Martinez, I just want that firetruck - what a cool design. Just think how much it would cost to re-chrome it if you had to today. THOUSANDS. I’m really glad you enjoyed this article.

dzacher, yes, a change of pace is nice, even for me. Years and years ago I did a whole “week without Disneyland”, and have been tempted to do it again.

Lou and Sue, thanks to Scott, I learned a little about that old firetruck and fire station!

JG, you’re welcome.

Chuck, interesting, I see what you mean about the similarities between the logos. Though to be honest, I actually like the Phoenix Fire Department’s logo better!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I do still have that Fire Chief Match Box car. I also have a Match Box police car and fire engine. I wish I had the original boxes that they all came in, but I guess I should be glad that at least the vehicles themselves survived.

I actually have two photos that my dad took of my brother and I at that park, climbing on the back of that fire engine. Unfortunately, they are kind of "tight shots," showing more of us than the actual fire engine.