By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 22, 2022 at 10:25 AM

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 1997.

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. The property was assessed at $71,300 in 2019.

(NOTE/UPDATE: Though the website says a proposal is pending, the DCD re-sent described the property as available in an email on Dec. 5, 2022.)

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.

Two interior views of the former firehouse. (PHOTOS: Milwaukee DCD)

One bungalow firehouse – which was expanded with an addition – still operates as a Milwaukee Fire Department house. The structure 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.

One on Oklahoma Avenue on the South Side is home to the Milwaukee Fire Education Center and Museum, and another on Hawley Road has been renovated into Evenement events facility.

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.

An architectural drawing for a bungalow firehouse.

The bungalow firehouses were designed by Charles Malig, whose work can be seen all over Milwaukee. The one for sale is unique among them in that it is the only one to have its sleeping quarters and bathroom on the second floor.

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.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.