Beginning in 1926, Milwaukee built five so-called bungalow firehouses that more resembled the homes in their residential neighborhoods. All five survive and one of them is now for sale.
The 4,600-square-foot former firehouse at 2509 W. Capitol Dr. in Franklin Heights served for many years as home for Engine 36, which moved to new quarters at 4060 N. 27th St. in 1990.
Since then the structure has had a variety of uses, including housing a driving school, a day care and a residence.
The former firehouse is currently owned by the City of Milwaukee and the Department of City Development has it listed among its portfolio of commercial properties for sale. You can see the listing here.
The asking price is $40,000, and proposals are due by noon on Monday, May 2. The property was assessed at $71,300 in 2019.
This was the final bungalow to be built and cost $29,000. Completed in June 1928, at a cost of $29,000, this one is really nestled into its location, a small lot on the south side of the street.
One bungalow firehouse – which was expanded with an addition – still operates as a Milwaukee Fire Department house. The srtucture at 2901 N. 30th St., at Locust Street, was erected as home to Engine 22 but currently serves as quarters for Engine 13.
But larger equipment spelled the end for most of the bungalow firehouses, which were too small to accommodate bigger vehicles.
The last of the five, at 2669 N. 47th St., just south of Center Street, was actually the first to be built. It currently serves as a residence.
Unlike their predecessors – most of the surviving examples of those were designed by fireman-turned-architect Sebastian Brand – which were boxy and square, often with tall towers, the bungalow firehouses were low-slung, with gabled roofs, dormers and covered porches and looked more like homes than previous firehouses. They were designed with more discreet towers.
The firehouses were designed by Charles Malig, whose work can be seen all over Milwaukee.
You can read an in-depth look at all the bungalow firehouses – which were something of a national trend at the time – in this Urban Spelunking story.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.