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History: The Building

Ultra Modern in 1903 Houston.

Fire Station No. 6, originally organized in 1873 with 45 men and known as Mechanic No. 6, was by 1903 one of only seven fire stations serving the rapidly growing city of Houston. At the turn of the last century, Houston had become a thriving city of 44,633, fueled by the influx of Galvestonians after the devastating 1900 hurricane.

Click here to view gallery in Flickr.

Fire Station No. 6, which sported the well-earned motto “Rough and Ready,” was one of two old stations that were rehoused to serve the needs of newly annexed areas as the city went from nine to 16 square miles.

The classic Italianate-style building at 1702 Washington was constructed in 1903 and hailed as the most modern fire station in Houston. The all-brick building was a departure from the wood buildings typically constructed in Houston, which often fell victim to fire. With 27 windows and cold and hot running water indoor bathrooms, it provided a luxury never dreamed of by firefighters of the day.

Built to accommodate the larger automated equipment then in development, the station still operated with a horse-drawn pumper when it opened in 1903. The ground floor of the new structure was concrete to make it stronger to hold the larger pumpers to come and easier to clean up after the horses.

One of the three automated LaFrance Metropolitan steamers bought by the Houston Fire Department in 1910 was assigned to Fire Station No. 6.

Fire Station No. 6 is the second oldest of Houston’s fire stations still in existence; the firefighting unit moved from Washington only once in its four incarnations:

  • 1873 at Washington and Preston
  • 1903 at Washington and Ash
  • 1931 at Henderson and Decatur
  • 1987 at Washington and Lakin

The Houston Fire Museum is housed in the oldest station house, Fire Station No. 7, which was established in 1899.

When Fire Station No. 6 moved to its new location in 1931, the old building at Washington and Ash passed through several owners, including a salvage company and an auction house. Finally, in 2005, Axiom President Tom Hair spotted the building and recognized its potential as a site for Axiom’s office as well as its historical significance for Houston.

Shortly after acquiring the building, Tom began Phase 1 of the renovation that would make Fire Station No. 6 the new home of Axiom.

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About the Author

Since 1998, Axiom has thrived as a hybrid advertising agency/marketing communications firm that fuses marketing strategy with compelling creative to solve business problems and drive opportunities for clients worldwide. Based in Houston, Axiom provides corporate and product branding, advertising and media planning, integrated screen and print programs, and investor relations materials with an emphasis on creative solutions for energy-focused companies.

Comments (2)

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  1. egchouston says:

    Grew up in San Antonio where a preservation society has had a significant record of protecting Texas history. Upon my arrival in Houston, I was struck by–in my best Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz” voice–“how quickly things come and go around here” especially when it came to the city’s architectural record. Check out the headlines that detail the River Oaks Theater’s most recent history and you’ll understand the forces at play making the job so difficult. So raise your glass and toast the city’s residents working to preserve our history. Thanks Tom, can’t wait for the grand opening!

  2. Tom Hair says:

    Thanks for your comment. I meant to have written back sooner”……..but have been busy trying to keep the project on schedule. being a native Houstonian, I do take pride in bringing this building back to life. And it is slot of fun too!

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