1401 S. Water Street, Philadelphia
John T. Windrim (attributed), 1894
Significance: Engine 46’s Flemish Revival façade and castle-like tower make it one of the most iconic buildings in the Pennsport neighborhood of South Philadelphia. It is a rare survivor from an era of flamboyantly-designed municipal buildings erected by the City of Philadelphia in the late nineteenth century. Its high-style trappings, likely the work of noted architect John T. Windrim, reflect the progressive ambitions of a city celebrating the rapid expansion of its schools, parks, and police and fire departments.
Threat: The fire station was abandoned in the 1960s and used as an auto repair shop for two decades before undergoing a successful restaurant conversion in 1994. It has been vacant since 2006, and in 2013 Cedar Realty Trust received a permit to demolish the building. Widespread neighborhood opposition to the demolition persuaded Cedar to postpone the demolition in hopes that a new tenant for the building can be found.
Recommendations: A number of other former firehouses across Philadelphia have been successfully reused. The building is an ideal location for a new restaurant or brewpub, but could also house a retail or office tenant in a neighborhood that has benefited from significant investment over the past five years.
- “No Checkers at Engine 46,” Hidden City Daily, August 6, 2013
- “Owners confirm plan to raze 1894 firehouse,” Plan Philly, August 1, 2013
- “HEY YOU: Save this firehouse– quickly,” Hidden City Daily, July 31, 2013
- “Historic firehouse spared at least until meeting,” Philadelphia Inquirer, July 17, 2013
- “Owner of landmark firehouse to meet with civic group,” Plan Philly, July 14, 2013
- “Engine 46 in Pennsport gets temporary reprieve,” Philadelphia Daily News, July 14, 2013
- “Firehouse to be torn down, but then what?” Philadelphia Daily News, July 12, 2013
- “South Philly firehouse headed for demolition?” Philadelphia Daily News, July 8, 2013
- “In the mind’s eye, at least, Engine 46 looms large,” Hidden City Daily, June 19, 2013
- “Historical firehouse could be on the line,” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 19, 2013
- “South Philly neighbors hope to rescue 1894 firehouse,” Plan Philly, June 17, 2013