From Restaurants to Residences, The Converted Firehouses of DC

by Nena Perry-Brown

Yesterday, Mapping Vermont published a cool map pinpointing the active fire stations across DC as well as those stations that are no longer active and are now serving a different purpose. Below, UrbanTurf takes a look at the DC firehouses that were converted to residential developments or businesses.


Old Engine Company No. 6

Built in 1855 as Metropolitan Hook & Ladder 1, the fire station building at 438 Massachusetts Avenue NW (map) is the oldest in the District. Its architect was Adolf Cluss, who also designed iconic structures in the city from Eastern Market to the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building. In 1974, the building came to the end of its use as a firehouse and was abandoned for nearly 40 years before being reborn in 2012 as the restaurant Sixth Engine.


219 M Street NW

Mark Toorock opened the Primal Fitness center and American Parkour Academy at 219 M Street NW (map) in 2007. That means that what was once a stable in the 1895 firehouse is now a weight room. According to a Huffington Post article, Toorock climbs up to his live-in unit on the top floor of the former firehouse while his dog rides upstairs via a bucket-and-pulley.


1624 U Street NW

Located at 1624 U Street NW (map), Old Firehouse No. 9 was built as a fire department in 1893. It is one of the city’s older conversions, having been transformed into a 13-unit condominium with ground floor retail in the 1980’s. The building still functions as a residential property along the U Street Corridor, with occasional candidates for “This Week’s Find” and the popular Chi Cha Lounge on its first floor.


931 R Street NW

The former firehouse at 931 R Street NW (map) has been through several reincarnations over the years, some of which UrbanTurf has chronicled. Established as Engine House No. 7 in 1885, the building took on a new identity in 1940 after becoming Engine House No. 4, the city’s first all-black fire company.

Starting in the 1970s, the building was repurposed as a harpsichord factory. Then, locally-renowned neon sculptural artist Craig Kraft purchased the property in 1992 for use as a live-work space.

Now, current owner Michael Abbenante wants to continue the more-recent legacy of the building as a live-work-residential rental property. Abbenante is currently acquiring permits from the city to renovate the exterior of the building. He hopes to restore the garage doors to more closely resemble the original 19th-century facade and to replace some of the third floor windows. While the plan is to get the exterior work started by the end of the year, the remainder of the building will eventually be altered as well to connect the ground floor commercial space with the top floor to create an office and penthouse for Abbenante. There will also be one-bedroom and three-bedroom rental units in the former firehouse. A two-story carriage house in the rear will also serve as a one-bedroom rental unit.


1626 North Capitol Street NW

Snowden Ashford designed the Colonial Revival-style fire station at 1626 North Capitol Street NW (map), which opened in 1897. After the firehouse company moved in 1987, the building went fallow in 1992 and then spent several years vacant and between renovations until the owners of Shaw’s Tavern reopened the property as Old Engine 12 Restaurant in 2013.


1341 Maryland Avenue NE

The firehouse at 1341 Maryland Avenue NE (map) was one of eight designed by Leon Dessez. Built in 1894, the two-story building has since been converted by Hamel Builders and the Argos Group into loft-like condominium units with private entrances and 15-foot ceilings. The redevelopment also included the conversion of a nearby police station at 525 9th Street NE.

See other articles related to: firehouse, conversions

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_converted_firehouse_rundown/11697

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