Empire Firehouse

This Museum exhibit building’s facade is a reconstruction of the Empire Firehouse located at 375 Second Street from 1869-1892.

The San José Fire Department, initially an intensely dedicated volunteer organization until the hiring of professionals in 1876, was established by a City ordinance in 1854. In that same year, a firehouse was erected on Lightson Street. It functioned as the only firehouse in the community until the increased requirement for equipment storage space called for the construction of another building in 1869. Known as the Empire Firehouse, the new headquarters at 375 Second Street housed Empire #1 Engine Company and San Jose’s first steam fire engine. For 23 years, the Empire Firehouse served the City of San José until, in July 1892, it was destroyed in a fire that consumed several blocks of the downtown area.

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