Filed Under Billings

Fire House No. 2

Early Billings relied on the volunteers of the Maverick Hose Company to fight fires. Their equipment included two-wheeled hose carts, which the firefighters pulled by hand. In 1894, the company purchased its first team of fire horses and hired its first paid employee. The city soon added more paid men to the crew. The Mavericks operated from Billings’ combination city hall and firehouse after 1903. In 1910, voters passed a bond issue to build a second firehouse. This two-story brick building reflects the Prairie style with its horizontal emphasis; low-pitched roof; wide, overhanging eaves; band of narrow windows; and geometric ornamentation. The modern, forward-looking style was an appropriate choice for a firehouse designed specifically to accommodate the weight of the city’s new “triple combination fire automobile.” The fire company’s horse teams remained at city hall, along with the horse-drawn hook-and-ladder and hose wagons. Like most early twentieth-century fire stations, the new Fire House #2 combined several functions. It served as a civic symbol, a garage, and a residence. In 1911, the fire department had ten paid employees, assisted by twenty-five active volunteers. Four professionals and five volunteers lived here. The professional firefighters were on duty twenty-four hours a day, with only one day off a week. A familiar brass fire pole gave them quick access to the ground floor from their second-floor living quarters. In 1965, the city closed this firehouse, leasing the building to the Salvation Army. Renovations in 2004 carefully maintained the firehouse’s original character while converting the building to office space and apartments.

Images

Fire House No. 2
Fire House No. 2 Fire House No. 2 (PAc 91-51 Billings Southside R05 F22). Front to side view of the building, facing north to northwest on South 30th Street near the intersection of South 30th and 2nd Avenue South. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Oct. 1980

Location

201 South 30th Street, Billings, Montana | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Fire House No. 2,” Historic Montana, accessed May 26, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2160.