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Fire Station No. 3

CIRCA 1903

Historic Marker number nine is located at 1026 Grinnell between Virginia Street and Truman Avenue.Fire Station number three was built in 1907. When the station opened, the Key West Fire Department had 12 paid firemen and 200 volunteers. It is believed to have been the oldest active fire station in Florida until its closing in1998. The station has endured several hurricanes, the worst being the storm of 1909 that hit Key West with winds that exceeded 100 miles per hour. The roof was heavily damaged but the building endured. Notice the concrete block construction. The rough-hewn blocks, known locally as "Indian blocks," are solid concrete. They were a popular building material in the late 1800s and were thought to make a structure fireproof.Fires were fought with horse drawn steamers and hose carriages until 1914 when the department received its first two American La France motorized fire engines.During the WPA years, in the mid 1930's, Key West was in a state of bankruptcy and the firemen were paid in script instead of money. The script (like coupons) were used to purchase food, clothing and necessities. Unfortunately for the fire fighters, merchants would only redeem the script for one half of its face value.By the late 1940s many changes were made in the building. Interior stairs were added and a cement hose trough and wooden hose racks were built behind the station. In addition, all of the horse drawn steam engines and horse stalls behind the station were removed.Fire Station number 3 became a museum in 2010 and is open to the public.