Friday, July 20, 2012

Engine Company No. 13 of the Richmond Fire Department - Before and After

I love when I can show three different eras for a Before and After. Today we can see the amazing engine house for Engine Company No. 13 of the Richmond Fire Department, on Bainbridge Street at 10th Street in Manchester during the early 20th century, 1960s and today. First up, what looks to be the 1920s. Click the photos below for the high resolution images.

Next up is a shot from December of 1963. The building still appears to be in use, with only some minor changes. The old stoplight is even still hanging in the intersection.

Unfortunately, here's how this intersection looked up until recently...the engine house is long gone, although part of the side wall remained.

As of July 2012, a block long apartment building is nearing completion where this engine house once stood. Much better than the empty lot, hopefully these apartments will fit in nicely with the neighborhood. With all the revitalization in Manchester, I can't help but wonder what the old engine house would have looked like as apartments or a house.
1920s photo courtesy of The Library of Virginia
1963 photo courtesy of VCU Libraries


  1. I agree! Why the heck would the city knock down something so cool?!

  2. Is that a beer bottle in the street in the 1920s photo?

  3. Hills and Heights has dug up a great shot of the interior of this building:

  4. Gorgeous old building - agreed - but Robo to answer your question - look at the middle (1963) picture - the area was even then already suffering quite a bit of blight/urban decay a mere 40 or so years after the first picture. Note the school building to the west of the fire station in the middle photo - looks boarded up/abandoned. And this was in the early '60s - not the '80s where the neighborhood REALLY went downhill and became dangerous. My cousins went to parochial school in Bainbridge in the 70s - and often told the story of how my uncle (who at the time was a Richmond police officer) would sternly warn them about being careful on the playground and walking to/from the bus - as it was known even then that thugs, druggies, etc. were hanging out in apartment buildings in the neighborhood. i hope/pray the new apartment building will continue the trend of revitalization of the area - and not be a magnet for the criminal element that plagued that neighborhood for decades back when I was growing up.

  5. Some of my friends in the fire service shared this article on FB. I work at the "new" station 13 and am trying my hardest to get ahold of whomever is in charge of the construction of the apartment complex. You see, some of the brick pavers for the firehouse apron are still present. I'd like to have the pavers at our current station so that we can incorporate them into some sort of patio or other project to hang onto some pieces of our history. If they remain as an incorporated sidewalk for the building then if be comfortable with that but if they're gonna scrap 'em then we'd love to work with the contractors on acquiring them.

  6. The city didn't knock it down. It burned. Arson.