Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive

Fire Station No. 28
644 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County

HABS No. CA-2155














Historic American Buildings Survey
National Park Service
Department of the Interior
Washington, D.C. 20240





Location:         644 South Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA.90022
Present Owner:    City of Los Angeles
Present Occupant: Vacant
Present Use:      Vacant

Significance:  The building is one of the first reinforced concrete fire stations in Los Angeles.  It was a Class A fire proof structure built of brick, hollow tile and concrete. Its original cost was $50,000.

The building is an interesting and unusual design.  In relation to the surrounding buildings, Fire Station 28 provides a refreshing reduction of scale and serves as a historic monument to the growth of Los Angeles.



Physical History


Date of Erection: 1912 (City of Los Angeles, building permits)


Architect:  J. P. Krempel and W. E. Erkes 

John Krempel and Walter Erkes - The partnership produced a number of structures throughout Southern California over a twenty-year period.  The firm designed the second Times Mirror Company in 1910, the home of General Otis, Santa Barbara High School, and the Maier-Brewery Company buildings, to name a few.

Krempel was one of the earliest architects in Los Angeles.  He arrived in Southern California during the mid-1880's.  In 1894 he established his own office, working alone until 1911 when he joined with Erkes in partnership.

Fire Station 28 is one of the first buildings designed by the firm.  The two men worked successfully together until Krempel's death in 1933.


Fire Station No. 28
HABS NO.    CA-2155
Page 2             



Original and Subsequent Owners:

Acquisition Deed No. 165, recorded December 1, 1908, in Book 3601, page 5 James A. Brown, Blanche Brown, Elon W. Bramble, and Loraine Bramble to the City of Los Angeles


Builder:  Kuhach and Company


Original Plans and Construction:  Not Located


Alternations and Additions:  Alterations are minor;  most have occurred on the interior.  A few small windows on the sides of the building have been filled in.


Historical Context:  At the time Fire Station 28 was built on what was then Pearl Street, there was little commercial development in that area of town.  The fire station must have been built to serve the needs of the residential and agricultural development stretching from Pearl Street through what is now mid-Wilshire.

The two entrance bays were designed for use by horse drawn engines.  The building included an apartment for the fire captain and his family, a dorm for the firemen, and recreation rooms for the firefighters.

The limited size of the door bays and the general smallness of the station have made it unworkable for modern firefighting equipment.

Fire Station No. 28
HABS NO.    CA-2155
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General Statement:
1. Architectural Character:  This fireproof structure consists of a three story building with a basement.  Major architectural features include twin parapet towers with inset arches and capped by flagpoles.  The windows are contained within two story arched bays.  The building has windows with pilaster and entablature surrounds.  The two central doorways are recessed and framed by brackets.

The structure is built on a rectangular plan with two symmetrically placed entrance bays.  The wall surface has two large arched and recessed panels with both flat and arched window openings  The brickwork is set in unusual arched patterns.  Three stone shields are spaced evenly across the facade above the second story.

The eclectic architectural style is influenced by classical references with bracketed cornices.  The facade is intact.  Alterations are confined to the interior, with the exception of the filling in of several small window openings on the sides of the building.

2.  Condition of Faeric: Good


Exterior Description:
Over-all Dimensions:    The structure is located on a lot of .179 acres.  The frontage is 50' and the depth is 156'
Foundations:  The foundations are of brick and reinforced concrete.
3. Walls:    The walls are of brick construction and are, with the exception of the entrance facade, devoid of decorative detail.  The entrance facade consists of a flat wall surface articulated by a double main entrance, inset bays, applied decoration and a bracketed cornice.
4. Structural System, Framing:    The structure is of fireproof brick construction with some reinforced concrete.
5. Porches, Stoops, Balconies, Bulkheads:    none
6. Chimneys:    A small chimney is located in the southwest corner of the structure at the roof.

Fire Station No. 28
HABS NO.    CA-2155
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7. Openings:
a. Doorways and Doors:    There are two symmetrical main entrances flanking a central brick pier.  The doorway configuration is flat and the doors are of wood and metal construction.  Additional recess is provided by a door offset to the north of the major entrance bays.
b. Windows and Shutters:    The wall surface is relieved by two large arched and recessed panels.  Set into these panels are windows with both arched and flat surrounds and pilasters attached to the wall surface.  The windows are of the sash type.
8. Roof:
a. Shape, Covering:    The roof is flat in configuration and is of composite construction.
b. Cornice, Eaves:    A bracketed cornice is set between two parapet towers.
c. Dormers, Cupolas, Towers:    Twin parapet towers flank a parapet cornice.  The towers are of brick construction and have pyramidal red tile roofs.
C. Description of the Interior:    Since this submission refers only to exterior recordation of the structure, only a brief description of interior details is included.

The building is designed to accommodate equipment on the lower level with living quarters above.  There are, however, relatively few wall partitions on the upper stories.

D. Site:
1. General Setting and Orientation:    The structure fronts on Figueroa Street and is oriented on an east to west axis.  The structure is entered from the west on Figueroa.  The building is located in a densely built urban environment and is surrounded by structures of an incompatible size, design, and scale.
2. Historic Landscape Design:    none
3. Outbuildings:    none


Fire Station No. 28
HABS NO.    CA-2155
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A. Bibliography
1. Primary and unpublished sources:

City of Los Angeles, Department of Building
and Safety, building permits

City of Los Angeles, Department of Planning,
Land Use Planning and Management System

County of Los Angeles, Recorder's Office,
Official Records of the County of Los Angeles

2. Secondary Sources:

Baists Real Estate Atlas of Los Angeles
(G. W. Baist Co., Philadelphia, Pa., 1905

Hatheway, Roger G., "Historic Building Survey:
Request for Determination of Eligibility"
(Los Angeles Downtown People Mover Program:
January, 1979)

Los Angeles Times, April 16, 1911, VI,3.

Sanborn Map Company, Los Angeles Fire Insurance Maps
(New York:    1883, 1927, 1958).

Works Projects Administration, Los Angeles Drawings
(Los Angeles, 1939).


Fire Station No. 28
HABS NO.    CA-2155
Page 6             

Prepared by:  

Myrs L. Frank,
Senior Transportation Planner:
Roger G. Hatheway,
Consulting Research
Los Angeles Downtown
People Mover Authority
October, 1980


The Los Angeles Downtown People Mover Project, supported by a
demonstrated grant from the Urban Mass Transportation Admini-
stration, is proposing to build an automated, grade-separated
transit system in downtown Los Angeles.

A portion of the route as proposed would run along a median in
the middle of Figueroa Street.  Locating the DWP in the center of
the street will not require alterations to the structure, but
will create a new visual element of front of the structure as viewed from across the street.






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