Providence Central Fire Station

I’ve been collecting postcards of the old fire station for a while now, and have enough to create a post for it. It was an ornate structure, decorated by alternating courses of stone on the edges, similar to the Dyer Block (Capriccio’s restaurant) or the Federal Reserve building (1901).

The fire station seemed like it was in a perfect, central location, and it also seems like there was gap between the demolition of this station (the Post Office that replaced it started construction in 1938) and the construction of the new combination Police/Fire station at LaSalle Square (started in 1940), we’d like to know more about what prompted its demolition, and what the fire department did between about 1936 and 1941. Please send us some more info, and thanks.


From Robert O. Jones, Architectural Historian, RIHPHC Construction of this Central Fire Station was authorized in 1900 and the building opened in 1903. John Hutchins Cady in his book “Civic and Architectural Development of Providence” credits Martin & Hall (Frank W. Martin & George F. Hall) as the architects. The City sold this property to the federal government as a site for a Federal Building annex. This fire station was demolished in 1938. Fire Headquarters moved temporarily to the old Richmond St. Fire Station until the consolidated Police and Fire Station at Lasalle Square was finished in 1940, which itself was subsequently demolished in 2007.

This 1903 building replaced an earlier Central Station of 1873 that stood on pilings in the river. Its site is occupied by the present Federal Building, opened in 1908, on Kennedy Plaza. The 1873 station was called the “Three Ones” because it housed Hose Co. 1, Hook & Ladder Co. 1, and Protective Co. 1. I’m not sure if the title “Three Ones” was ever used for the 1903 building.

Roland Lavallee Oct5 2009 Wasn’t the fire station called the Three One’s because it was street address One of the three intersecting streets?

Jack Welch Dec 17 2008 I don’t like to be critical, but for the sake of accuracy the google map gives the incorrect location of the Central Fire Station. The actual location was across Washington St on Exchange place opposite the Federal building at the east end of Burnside Park. (Ed– We agree. Unfortunately, the address that Google gives for the Post Office downtown, which now stands where this Fire Station was, is 2 Exchange Terrace. This is what the map does with that address. You are right, though, the location is more like this map:

Arnold Aug 9 2008 I am an intern at Gilbane Building company and for our Intern day, we had Bill Gilbane, the CEO or GBC, give us a presentation on the history of the company. On one of the slides this exact picture came up of the Providence Central Fire Station. Gilbane had constructed the fire station and at the time it was built was the tallest building in Rhode Island. (The Rhode Island state house was completed in 1904 which then became the tallest building in Rhode Island).

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