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FIRE PATROL STATION, 240 West 30th Street, NYC. Request for Designation as an Individual Landmark.

WHEREAS, The building at 240 West 30th Street was designed by architects D’Oench & Simon for the Fire Patrol and has been used as a fire patrol station for over 100 years; and

WHEREAS, It was built by the New York Board of Fire Underwriters in 1894-5 and opened in September of 1895 as the firehouse for Fire Patrol #3 (It is now designated Fire Patrol #1); and

WHEREAS, The Fire Patrol itself is a two hundred year old institution which pre-dates the New York City Fire Department as the city’s oldest private fire fighting institution and it is believed that fire patrols of insurance underwriters were in virtually every city in the United States, but that New York is not only the oldest in the country but the only one operating with three still in existence; one on 3rd Street(1906), one in Brooklyn (1909)and the firehouse on 30th Street (1894-5); and

WHEREAS, The four-story, three-bay elaborate masonry firehouse at 30th Street has a two-story stable at the rear, which housed two horses that used to pull the fire engines of that day;  and

WHEREAS, The building was designed in eclectic Flemish Revival style.  Its buff brick ornate façade has a classically inspired first floor.  A molded cornice is supported by engaged columns.  The cornice projects at the characteristic center vehicle entry which is also marked by flanking Doric columns; and

WHEREAS, The first floor now painted red, is Indiana limestone with a granite base and the upper floors are buff brick with raised limestone bands; and

WHEREAS, It was considered a fine example of a modern firehouse at the time, and the New York Times wrote in 1895 that great “care in regard to details of construction has been shown everywhere in the building…On the first floor the latest patterns of fire alarm instruments have been put in and every known device that can lessen the time of leaving the building has been adopted.”; and

WHEREAS, The windows have ornamental terra cotta pediments, different on each floor and the large arched window on the top floor balances the classical base at the first floor; and

WHEREAS, The building is very much intact and except for an original Flemish gable and peaked roof which were replaced by a stepped parapet and flat roof, the doors which are non-historic as are the windows except for the top floor and the original large arched center door leading to the stables remains; and

WHEREAS, There is an ornate stone plaque between the second and third floors that reads: “Erected by the New York Board of Fire Underwriters 1894”; and

WHEREAS, 240 West 30th Street is extremely significant for its history as a continuously operating fire patrol station for over 100 years, as well as for its architecture with its handsome eclectic style façade, ornate terra cotta and limestone, and for its rare rear brick stable and as one of the earliest and the last remaining private firefighting institutions; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends that the Fire Patrol Station at 240 West 30th Street be designated a New York City landmark and urges the Landmark Preservations Commission to immediately calendar a designation hearing.

The above resolution passed with a vote of 36 in favor, 0 opposed, 2 abstentions.   

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