City Directories and History: Because of the rapid growth of the city up the peninsula, the Firemaster Board deemed it imperative that a new fire house be built to serve the area. Adding to the need for more fire protection were the several large industrial sites being developed at the northern edge of the city. Without a new station, the nearest fire station was on Cannon St.
Therefore, the Huger St. location was selected because, at the time, it was centrally located in the “extreme northern portion of Charleston.” The plans for this station were drawn by Henry F. Walker, and construction began in the summer of 1909. The new building cost about $8000, about 20% over budget. The two-story structure follows a classical pattern seen on older fire stations in Charleston with its red brick exterior and Indiana limestone details. After several months of delays, the new station finally opened on April 16, 1910.
The station was meant to serve the entire peninsula above Line St., but its eight-man squad could be dispatched to fires elsewhere if needed. The No. 8 Engine Company’s station was the last one built in Charleston meant to accommodate horse-drawn equipment; the engine occupied the middle bay of the building, and four horses could be stabled along the sides. Indeed, especially strong horses were needed to haul the heavy fire-fighting equipment over so many still unpaved roads.
Preservation Art at Work: Courtesy of Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art: Rick Rhodes – photographer, Ronald Ramsey artist – preservationist, 2017. (For the last several decades, native Charlestonian Ronald Wayne Ramsey has focused on meticulously documenting historical buildings—particularly those slated for demolition—in his hometown. As old buildings in the historically-minded city become condemned and readied for demolition, he secrets himself inside and liberates various seemingly mundane objects from their impending destruction. Such objects, like hinges, shutter dogs, decorative ironwork, doorknobs, and other ubiquitous building artifacts gain new relevance once they become part of his salvaged collection, which traces architectural styles from Charleston’s rich architectural legacy. Along with these objects, Ramsey creates fastidiously detailed drawings of old building facades in the city. Text from the Ahead of the Wrecking Ball Exhibit – 2017)
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