May 19, 1927: DFD Engine House #10 Opens in New Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1927, a brand new fire hall opened at 1106 Commonwealth Avenue in New Duluth. The first engine house #10 was a two-story wood-frame building located at 311 Commonwealth Avenue when New Duluth was its own township. Built in the early 1890s, the building served both as a community meeting place and a home for the volunteer fire department until 1895, when Duluth annexed New Duluth and the Duluth Fire Department took over firefighting responsibilities. That first volunteer company, according to Jerry Kepper’s Fire & Ice, consisted of “a watchman named George Shaw, a part-paid engineer named John Reindl, and 35 volunteers from the surrounding area. Those volunteers used a Waterous village steam engine, a 2,800-pound beast requiring two horses to pull.” Construction of the new building began in late 1927. Faced in brick, the completed building stands two-stories tall and double front doors that opened to space that once housed the fire rig, a 750 gallon-per-minute Stutz triple combination pumper moved from headquarters in downtown Duluth. Part of the station housed a police car, as the building doubled as the local police station until 1956. The police station, complete with jail, occupied the southern half of the building, with the fire department in the north. (The space occupied by police became a community center) The total cost of the building, including the property it stands on, cost $62,000, or roughly $800,000 today. The station remains part of the Duluth Fire Department today, serving Norton Park, Riverside, Smithville, Morgan Park, Gary-New Duluth, and Fond Du Lac.

The Duluth Fire Department’s Engine House #10 in Gary-New Duluth. (Image: Zenith City Press)