Los Angeles Fire Department
BUILT IN 1910
Charles A. Tingley,
assistant fire chief, with early day
fire helmet in front of old
fire station on 5th St.
Times photos by John
Mahal of fire stations, Engine House 23, in the heart of
Skid Row at 225 E. 5th St., has been declared a historic
One of the skinniest structures in the
city---six times as tall as it is wide--Engine House 23 created
a political and civic storm when it was opened Oct. 1, 1910.
"What a waste!"
"A Nirvana for a soulful legion of
blue-shirted civil servants," went the news reports
"The interior of the station is
astounding," The Times reported. "Three
station houses could be built for what this cost."
First floor of the three-story, 26-foot wide, 168-foot deep
building contained ornate stalls for 10 horses, the buggy room
and hay loft. Even the horses had it good. The
21-foot high white enameled walls were of imported Italian tile.
But it was the chief's quarters on the top
floor that brought the greatest outcries. The seven-room
apartment was the city's first gaudy penthouse.
There was a private elevator for the chief,
his wife and family and a private slide pole of polished brass
for fast exits.
The apartment, which cost $25,000. was
lavishly paneled in importuned Honduras and Peruvian mahogany
with padded leather wall coverings and rows of magnificent
French bevel mirrors. The polished floors were inlaid.
The chief's boudoir has a massive brass bed. The bathroom
had a marble shower and a tub big enough for two "president
Taft' size fire chiefs. Ceilings were sculptured and there
was a roof garden.
Despite the storm over the resplendent showcase,
Engine House 23 served as home and headquarters for the city's
fire chiefs and their family through the 1930's.
Its usefulness as a "working" fire station
ended in 1960 when Engine Co. 23, and a rescue and salvage squad
moved into new quarters at 7th and San Julian Sts.
By declaring the structure a historic
cultural monument, the Cultural Heritage Board prevents the old
firehouse from being razed. But it's not open to public
Source: The Los
Copyright 1999 All Rights Reserved.