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From horses & hoses to Melting & marketing: Boise’s Central Fire Station has adapted with the times

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This story is an excerpt from our new book Boise: City of Trees, available for purchase NOW! Order here.

Part of downtown Boise’s charm is the old buildings that line city blocks. Most of these structures are no longer used for their original intent, including the boxy brick building with a bell tower on the corner of 6th and Idaho streets.

While the building is now home to the Melting Pot restaurant and CLM Northwest, a marketing agency, it first served as one of Boise’s first firehouses, called the Central Fire Station.

The Central Fire Station was constructed in 1903 by notable architect Walter Campbell, the same man who built the Idanha hotel. It is two stories with Roman arches and detailed carvings surrounding the top border. It was Boise’s first firehouse that consisted of paid firefighters.

Up to that point, the city’s fire department relied solely on volunteers. The new station boasted a full-time chief, two part-time assistant chiefs, three drivers, one engineer, one hoseman, and pay-per-call stokers and firefighters, according to the City of Boise. The Central Fire Station also utilized horses.

In the following decades, growth prompted the Boise Fire Department to modernize, adding more stations and positions. The Central Fire Station hasn’t served as a firehouse for many years, but the old building is protected, as it is a part of one of Boise’s Historic Districts.

Not only has the building itself stood the test of time, but so have some of the original features. According to the Idaho Architecture Project, the original fire pole used by firefighters still remains intact inside.

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Gretchen Parsons - BoiseDev Managing Editor
Gretchen Parsons - BoiseDev Managing Editor
Gretchen Parsons is BoiseDev's managing editor. Contact her at [email protected].

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