Fire Station No. 23
1910 – Hudson and Munsell
225 East 5th Street – map
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Up next: Founders' Oak