Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation

Advisor

Wilson, Ashley L

Committee Member

Muldrow, Ralph C

Committee Member

Ward, James L

Abstract

From the first Charleston settlement in 1670, fire has posed an ever present threat. For this reason, fire fighting took on an important role even in its earliest forms within the city. As firefighting techniques evolved so did the buildings used to house both the equipment and the men used for such a task.
This thesis studies the architecture of the Charleston Fire Department. From its early beginnings in 1881 when the newly formed department absorbed the former volunteer companies, to the more recent buildings (ending with the structure built in 1943) which were constantly being added as the needs of the department changed, the structures themselves tell an important story of how firefighting has been modified within the city. The change of equipment often dictates a change in architecture; however the City of Charleston and its firefighters are bound to their history and currently custom order trucks to fit their historic doorways. This is a tribute to the legacy of firefighting in the city and an indication of how these historic buildings have survived to present day.
Examples of historic firefighting architecture were both studied and photographed for the purposes of further preserving their legacy.
Documentation drawings of the Central Station located at 242/262 Meeting Street are included in an effort to further understand fire house architecture, as well as document a relatively unchanged specimen of firefighting history which remains with its original use and as a symbol of pride within the city to this day.

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