Friday, June 22, 2007

No. 37 - Fire Station No. 23

Fire Station No. 23

Fire Station No. 23
1910 – Hudson and Munsell
225 East 5th Street – map
Declared: 2/18/66

So, my gut’s telling me this old fire station isn’t going to be around much longer. (My gut’s also telling me to ease up on the Fritos, but I ain’t listening!)

Fire Station No. 23

This Renaissance Revival firehouse was heralded when it was built in 1910 for its combination of living and working spaces. It was retired from active service in 1960, when it became training headquarters for the LAFD.

Fire Station 23

The above picture was originally in the Los Angeles Times just more than forty years ago, on 1/30/67. It's now available on the UCLA Library Digital Collections website. The photo was first accompanied by the caption:
TARGET AREA--The 200 block of E. 5th St., east of Los Angeles St., is one of prime targets in $100 million attack on Skid Row. At right is deactivated city fire station, its entryway used as meeting place for the slum's many habitues. Here beer and wine flow as do tales of misery.
I guess it didn't remain a training center too long, what with all that flowing going on.

Fire Station No. 23

If you look closely at the shot below, you’ll notice two chunks of the arched sign aren’t original. The right side has “CO”, where the original, seen in the black and white pictures here, had a “5”, as in Truck 5. The start of the text, “EN”, looks like paint on a curved piece of plywood. But, whoever did it did a pretty good job. I didn’t notice that plywood until I got back to Big Orange Landmarks Headquarters.

Fire Station No. 23

I took the picture below a split second after some guy was standing behind that upper window, giving his arm a scratch and looking at the goings-on down on the street. The man must’ve been a squatter, because the building was sealed up pretty tight when I was there.

Fire Station No. 23

Fire Station No. 23

The old shot above is from the city's Planning Department website. Sorry, but Johns Dog House is long gone. There's a parking structure there now. (Had John only used an apostrophe, things today would be so, so different.)

Fire Station No. 23 - rear

The fire station, close to a century old, is in poor condition. I can only imagine what the inside looks like. I hope it’s rehabilitated soon, or else I think it’s unlikely the building will see its centennial. This green portion is the landmark's back, on Winston Street.

Fire Station No. 23 - rear


Fire Station No. 23

Up next: Founders' Oak

11 comments:

jeaux janovsky said...

what a lonely little firehouse.
the lonely little firehouse. What a sad and depressing children's story that would be.
-jx!

Anonymous said...

philpalm again:
Being a squatter is not too hard to do. Observe if no one ever bothers to visit the place, then search for openings and enter without leaving a trace of breaking in.

I've occupied places on rainy days and having night vision is a good skill to have. I believe that the trespassing law requires a sign posted and/or a verbal warning.Sometimes illegal squatting is allowed, but if a squator can pay the fees of abandoned places they can wind up owning abandoned places...

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Well, philpalm, you're braver than I. I've heard many times those stories of a bunch of squatters being awarded a deed to a NYC tenement building after living there seven or whatever years, yet always assumed they were urban legends.

Anonymous said...

You can visit this firehouse and read about it here! Hopefully, it won't be torn down....downtown has been renovating so keep your fingers crossed! =)
http://chac.la.home.att.net/

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks, anonymous. I checked out the site and began to RSVP for the 10/30 tour, that is, until I realized it was in 2005. I emailed the address on the site, hopefully I'll get more information about the organization.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you know this already but just incase.... They filmed parts of "Ghostbusters" in the firehouse. All the inside scenes for the firehouse in New York were actually filmed at No. 23.

Anonymous said...

I was just in this fire house shooting a music video and it is far from being shut down I hope. It is a great location for filming and the man that owns the building lives there.

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks for the update, anonymous. Please let us know when we can look for the video.

Anonymous said...

Love the shot from 1967. Loans, liquor and laundry. Pretty much says it all.

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Good order, too.

jason said...

I love this place I have past it many of times growing up in Los Angeles. I finally got the chance to enter it the other day to see a great band at a festival to keep it operating. I really hope they don't make the mistake of tearing it down.