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November 29, 1915: Construction begins on Engine House #8

On this day in Duluth in 1915, construction began on the Duluth Fire Department’s Engine House #8 at at 601–603 N. 55th Avenue West (now Central Avenue)—a building better known as the West Duluth Municipal Building, which also held a police station and municipal court. According to DFD historian Jarry Keppers, “The two-story brick building had two stalls and two sets of double doors to the front, and one set of double doors in the rear. The building was used as a police and fire hall combination. The police office and jail was on the first floor to the rear, and on the second floor was a court room, government offices, firemen’s dormitory and kitchen. Housed on the first floor front was a new triple combination pumper, purchased in 1914 from the American LaFrance Company, a new White/Peter Pirsch city service ladder truck. It was driven by a 70-horsepower gasoline engine, and carried 261 feet of ground ladders. The new ladder truck cost $6,440. These two companies had 14 firefighters. The hall was opened for service August 1, 1916 after many construction delays. The cost of the municipal building was $37,000, including the cost of the land. The old fire hall was sold to Mr. Frank L. Kreidler for $3,250.” That “old fire hall” was torn down in 2015, but the 1915 Municipal building still stands. You can read more about them here and here.

The 1916 West Duluth Municipal Building. (Image: Duluth Public Library)