Southside Fire Station (site)

What is now a driveway and parking lot at a busy urban intersection was once the site of Reno’s most charming fire station. First known as the Southside Station, it was designed by prominent Nevada architect Frederic DeLongchamps to resemble a bungalow, complete with a front porch and meticulously landscaped yard.

Opening in 1917, the station replaced the old Southside at Center and Liberty Streets, a building that had been constructed in 1908 for horse-drawn equipment. This new facility was specifically designed to accommodate motorized apparatus, which were just arriving in Reno that year. DeLongchamps designed a second station in a similar style that was built on East Fourth Street at the same time.

The station’s residential look nicely complemented the neighborhood, which had yet to become a commercial corridor. Originally, it was flanked on either side by private homes. In 1927, Frank Greene built a brick grocery on the station’s north side, and much later, in 1946, the Hale building appeared to its south.

Inside, the apparatus room extended along the building’s entire north end with a small kitchen at the back. The other side contained an office, a dormitory lined with wooden lockers, and a washroom. An air raid siren was installed on a four-foot tower on the building’s roof in January 1942, to sound the signal in case of air attack.

Reno’s needs, as well as its equipment, eventually outgrew the little fire house, which closed in the early 1980s, when a larger station was constructed on Moana Lane. Sometime after that, the building was demolished.

Images

Southside Station, c. 1917

Southside Station, c. 1917

Soon after the station's construction in 1917, a fire crew poses outside with a Seagrave Chemical and Hose. Image courtesy of Joe Granata View File Details Page

The mid-century station

The mid-century station

An tower housing an air raid siren was installed during World War II. As the decades went on, less attention was devoted to the appearance of the front yard, but the station's bungalow style retained its charm. Image courtesy of Joe Granata View File Details Page

Larger machinery

Larger machinery

Although the equipment used by Reno's firefighters adapted through the years, the little station remained functional until the early 1980s. Image courtesy of Joe Granata View File Details Page

Joe Granata, 2015

Joe Granata, 2015

Retired fire captain Joe Granata worked at the Southside Fire Station, known widely as Engine Three, beginning in 1958. | Creator: Patrick Cummings View File Details Page

Audio

Remembering Engine Three

Interviewed in 2015, retired fire captain Joe Granata shares his memories of the Southside Station, widely known as "Engine Three." View File Details Page

Street Address:

532 South Virginia Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Alicia Barber, “Southside Fire Station (site),” Reno Historical, accessed July 25, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/156.

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