Engine House Number 5

History of the Building

Constructed in 1922 as an Engine House for the City and County of Denver Fire Department, the building has remained in continuous use since.  The origins of Engine House No. 5 date to 1881 when the Richards Hose Co. was established at 521-523 Hartford Street (now known as 1963 Chestnut).  In 1890, Steamer No. 5 was added to the location.  The company moved to a new location at 1829 Blake Street in 1893 and in 1903, changed its name to Engine Company No. 5.  On January 1, 1923, the company moved to 19th and Market, where it remained until 1979 when it moved to a temporary location at 10815 West Alamo.  On January 1, 1981, the location was closed as an Engine House.  Throughout its life as an Engine House and later a lineshop, the building has retained a great deal of historic integrity including exterior brick and terra cotta units, and the interior configuration of spaces and interior finishes.

Engine House No. 5 is listed as a contributing building in the Lower Downtown Historic District and is on the National Register.  The district is a cohesive collection of late 19th and early 20th century buildings which form the original wholesale and warehouse district of Denver.  The local Lower Downtown Historic District was formed in March of 1988 to encourage the preservation and vitality of the area’s significant contributions to the City of Denver’s growth.  Its status as a historic district granted protection to the remaining buildings in the neighborhood, which only represent a portion of the buildings originally in the area, as many were demolished throughout the 1960s and 1970s.   

Project Description

The use of Engine House No. 5 by the Denver Fire Department demonstrates its historical importance and contribution to the neighborhood.  Having served the community for years, it is essential to retain not only the building, but also its historic appearance as part of the fabric of the community. Most recently used as the fire line shop for the City, SLATERPAULL Architects purchased the building with the intent of adaptively reusing it as architectural offices and as part of a larger project to achieve a Platinum LEED rating for the building. The current project is addressing critical deficiencies in the exterior masonry and terra cotta on the building, including reconstruction of an original eyebrow roof at the east end of the south elevation.  Reconstruction of this feature will aid in bringing the building back to its original appearance. Combined with other innovative shading features, this project will also contribute to the integration of an innovative energy efficient design in a historic building rehabilitation plan. 

Project Support

This project is supported by Historic Denver, Inc., the Governor’s Energy Office, the State Historical Fund, Denver’s LODO, the City and County of Denver, and Colorado Preservation, Inc.

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4 Bar 4 Ranch

Homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary to provide a stop for the Georgetown Stage Line, the 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch has strong ties to Grand County and Colorado's heritage. The Georgetown Stage Line traveled on the road through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch from Idaho Springs to Hot Sulphur Springs over Berthoud Pass. In 1895 a roadhouse and stage stop were constructed on the ranch. The hotel and barn were constructed using trees from the Ranch property, and the hotel remained open for travelers coming over Berthoud Pass by horseback and wagon until 1913. With the coming of the automobile, the roadway over Berthoud Pass and through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch was considered an integral part of the Trans-Continental “Midland Trail” highway. Following the closing of the stage line, the ranch continued to host travelers until 1912 or 1913 when it was purchased and converted into a Ford Motor Company . Ford vehicles were sold here until 1917, when Harry Larkin purchased the ranch site. Today emergency efforts are underway to ensure it survives through the winter. Donations are in need. To learn more, contact Jennifer Orrigo Charles at jorrigocharlges@coloradopreservation.org.

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