Provo’s First Fire Station was Opened Downtown in 1893.
After Provo suffered from devastating fores for more than forty years, the Provo Volunteer Fire Department was organized during the summer of 1890. The department started with two dozen men, two horses, five hundred feet of hose, a hose cart, and a steam-powered pumping machine referred to as a fire engine. But the Fire Department had no station.
In order to shelter the new fire engine, carpenters built a shed on the west side of the city jail, which was located near the middle of the block on which the historic county building now stands. Two firemen stayed in this shed each night on a rotating basis. Near the shed, men constructed a small stable for the department’s horses and a platform on which to dry fire hose.
When a large fire bell weighing 710 pounds arrived from New York, carpenters built a 20-foot-tall tower from which to hang it. Firemen were unpleasantly surprised when they tested the bell. its tones did not carry as far as they expected, and the bell’s clapper broke out. The bell was loud enough, however, to attract about 150 disappointed boys and young men who gathered to see where the nonexistent fire was burning.
Finally in 1892, the city council approved plans for a fire station and delected a site for it on the south side of Center Street between what is now University Avenue and 100 East. In November of that year, work began on a 56 x 30, two-story brick and stone structure with a 60 foot tall tower on its northeast corner. This tower served as a bell tower and a place to hang hoses to dry. The fire engone was housed in a main floor garage with a door opening out onto Center Street. A fireman’s room was located on the second floor.
The new fire station opened at the end of March, 1893, and for the first time in its 44-year history, Provo had a fire hall. Firemen used it for thirty years before workmen razed it after a new station had been complaeted in 1923 on the north side of 100 North between 100 and 200 West.
This is plaque #36 in the Series of Events from Provo’s History.