Hose Company No. 3 Fire-Museum

 
 
Year Listed: 2019
County: Pueblo County
Construction Date: 1895
Threat When Listed: Limited Operating Hours, Lack of Staff, Challenging Economic Conditions 
Status: ALERT

Video courtesy of CBS4

The charming two-story Hose Company No. 3 Fire Museum is owned by the City of Pueblo and operated by volunteers from the Pueblo Firefighters Historical Society. It is located in Pueblo’s historic Mesa Junction Business District that serves as a gateway between south Pueblo and the downtown area. The building has a dentilled cornice and large front door for easy entry and exit of the fire engines and includes a pyramidal metal roof and original hose tower and fire pole. The building witnessed the transition in firefighting technology from horse-drawn wagons to motorized fire engines as well as the advent of unionization among professional firefighters. Pueblo’s fire department was the third in the United States to unionize with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), following only Chicago and Pittsburgh. With over 5,000 locals of the IAFF in the U.S. and Canada, being Local 3 is something the firefighters are extremely proud of. 

“This property displays a high level of physical integrity, which could be even further improved by proper preservation and restoration efforts.” ~ Ariel Schnee, Colorado State University EPP Nomination Reviewer

The Hose Company No. 3 Fire Museum was constructed in 1895 and served as a fire station from 1895 until 1978, when it was turned into a museum by a private individual. The building was left intact and contains many amazing historical artifacts, including a hand-pulled hose cart from 1882 (named after the fire chief and future governor of Colorado, J. B. Orman), a Gamewell fire alarm base, and decades of equipment, clothing, and documents illustrating the history of firefighting in Pueblo. It is open by appointment and operated by volunteer firefighters, which makes it challenging to raise money for restoration efforts. Despite limited operating hours, over 5,000 people visit the museum per year and over 175,000 visits to their website were logged last year. 

The building’s limestone, brick and stucco exterior shows significant signs of stress that could threaten its historic integrity. There is a strong and highly motivated group of people willing to work on the project and its listing on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places Program will help raise the profile of the museum and its fabulous collections while shedding light on Pueblo’s colorful labor history. 

Currently, CPI is looking into applying for a State Historical Fund grant. This would involve fundraising to acquire the matching funds necessary to begin restoration efforts for the building.

 

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