Unlucky Friday the 13th is this week and it is going to be a full moon. This rarity will not happen again for another 35 years!. Although summer does not officially start until June 21st, it is certainly starting to look and feel like it in the Greater Cincinnati Area. Top “Things To Do In Cincinnati” lists have been circulating via the usual social media channels. Interestingly, TripAdvisors’ museum list has the Cincinnati Fire Museum listed as No. 6 out of 13 museums to visit in the Queen City.
The Cincinnati Fire Museum is located in the restored Court Street Firehouse (a/k/a the 45th Company Firehouse) at 315 West Court Street in downtown Cincinnati and displays over 200 years of firefighting history. It is no joke that Cincinnati’s fire department was established on April 1, 1853 but did you know that it was the first professional AND fully paid fire department in the United States? They were also the first to use horses to pull fire engines and later were very well-equipped by the Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine Company, founded in 1910 by John P. Ahrens and Charles H. Fox. The former Ahrens-Fox factory at 214 East 14th Street has since been converted into condominiums…and our fire department was the first in the country to become completely motorized by 1922.
The Court Street Firehouse was built in in 1906, designed by Harry Hake (1871-1955). Hake was a respected Cincinnati architect, designing 17 firehouses as well as the following prominent landmarks around downtown (this is not an inclusive list by any means):
- Crosley Field (RIP 1970)
- Cincinnati Suburban Telephone Company building, 209 West 7th Street (Art Deco, 1931)
- Power Building, 224 East 8th Street (1903)
- Queen City Club, 331 East 4th Street (English Renaissance)
- Western Southern Life Insurance Company headquarters building (Greek Revival, 1916)
The Court Street Firehouse was done in the Second Renaissance Revival architectural style, noted for its symmetrical design elements and details such as cornices, dentils, half columns, and horizontal stone bands that was popular from about 1890 to 1930. The building has two distinct facades–the main elevation that faces Court Street and the other on Richmond Street–and is unusual for a firehouse in that it has doors on both ends. The firehouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 (NRHP # 74001510). If you dare to visit No .6 out of 13 on your list this Friday the 13th, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beware of any black cats crossing your path but if you happen to see a Dalmatian (or 2 or 100 others), I suppose that would be good luck!