Name: Fire Station No. 5 (Company 5)
Location: 278 Trinity Avenue (formerly Peters Street)
As you may recall from my previous posts, you can tell that the downtown Atlanta area is full of abandoned historical buildings, as well as what remains of a former historical dwelling or building. One of many remnants of Atlanta’s past is the Fire Station No. 5 park located t 278 Trinity Avenue, formerly known as Peters Street.
A further investigation concerning Fire Station No. 5 reveals that Trinity Avenue was not it’s the first location and most certainly isn’t its final location presently.
According to Mike Legeros, author of “Atlanta Former and Historic Fire Stations,” the original location of Fire Station No. 5 was on Foundry and Marietta street in 1871 in a stable. The original name for the fire station, chartered October 15, 1871, was Gate City Fire Company No. 5. However, it’s location on Foundry and Marietta Streets would be temporary until a permanent location was built. Unfortunately, the original building that housed Fire Company No. 5 is no longer standing.
Fire Company No. 5 moved into its new headquarters at 28 E. Foundry Street on February 25, 1879, and remained there until 1882. The cost of the new building was billed at $1,500, which would cost a whopping $34,651.38 in today’s money figures. Unfortunately, Company No. 5 was disbanded on June 20, 1882, when the city of Atlanta created paid fire departments.
Eight years after the disbanding of Gate City Fire Station No. 5 in 1882, Company No. 5 was reorganized on December 1, 1890 with its new location at 44 West Peters Street. The company’s new location appeared for the first time on Sanborn Maps around 1892. Below, you can see that the company was simply referred to as “Engine No. 5.” Company
In 1911, the name of Company No. 5’s fire station location on W. Peters street is listed as Atlanta Fire Department, Engine No. 5″ according to a 1911 Sanborn Map. The map also lists the company as having 11 men and 9 horses.
In 1921 the Atlanta Fire Station No. 5 is listed in the Atlanta City Directory as well, including the name of the fire captain at the time. According to the Atlanta City Directory, paid Atlanta fire departments were organized July 1, 1882. The directory goes on to mention the names of the fire chief, captains, lieutenants, etc. for each department.
Perhaps the expansion of the paid Atlanta Fire Department was the catalyst behind Fir Company No. 5’s new building to be erected at the same site as the previous building that housed the company from 1890-1927. By 1928, West Peter’s street was now named Trinity Avenue and the new address for Company No. 5 was 278 Trinity Avenue. Company No. 5 would remain at the 278 Trinity Avenue location from 1927 – 1965.
On July 1965, Company No. 5 relocated for the 5th time, though it would not be its last relocation. The 1965 location for Company No. 5 was 414 Central Avenue a few blocks away. The original 1927 fire station was deemed “vintage” and no longer suitable for modern day fire department equipment. The old location on 278 Trinity Avenue was demolished and marked with a placard that remains to this day. It is now known as Fire Station No. 5 park, located at the corners Spring St. and Trinity Avenue. Remnants of the brick walls that housed the 1927 Fire Station No. 5 remain visible. Unfortunately, after nineteen years on Central Avenue, Fire Station No. 5 would once again face uncertainty.
In order to make way for new construction of the downtown interstate connector, Fire Station No. 5 was closed after May 24, 1984. As a result of the demolition of the Central Avenue station, Company No. 5 disbanded June 30, 1984. Company No. 5 would go on to regroup as Squad No. 5, becoming the City of Atlanta’s Hazardous Materials Response Team; Fire Engine No. 5 was donated to Fire Company No. 9 and Squad 5 would go on to operate out of Fire Station No. 1. Fire Station No. 5’s building wasn’t fully demolished until 1988. Company 5 would ultimately reorganize in June of 1991 at a South West Atlanta location on 2825 Campbellton Road SW.
The new location would go on to house the most updated, state-of-the-art fire fighting equipment. As of 2001, only a handful of historic Atlanta Fire Department stations remain. Station No. 6 on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive remains and has been converted into a museum for the National Park Service. Built in 1894, and currently located in Sweet Auburn, remained in service until 1991. It is currently a part of the Martin Luther King Jr. historic district and serves as a museum. Museum goers will be treated to the history of Fire Station No. 16, which was the first fire station to be desegregated. African-American neighborhoods were not serviced by all-white fire departments as late as the 1940’s! An article from April 1949 edition of the Atlanta Daily World newspaper, highlights the need for desegregation of Atlanta’s Fire Departments. Fire Station No. 16 museum will hopefully mention this issue as it provides visitors with the history of the Atlanta Fire Department as a whole.
Currently view of 414 Central Avenue, home to the 5th relocation of Company No. 5.
- History of Service: Atlanta Fire Department Commemorative Yearbook, vol. 1 (Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Company, 2001).
- Sanborn Maps
- “Mayor Ragsdale and Chief Cody Preside at Barbecue as Station no. 5 is Opened.” 1927.The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Jul 16, 7. http://ezproxy.gsu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gsu.edu/docview/500009602?accountid=11226.
- Jackson, Marion E. 1949. “Atlanta One of Large Southern Cities with no Negro Fire Unit.” Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003), Apr 20, 1. http://ezproxy.gsu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gsu.edu/docview/490878782?accountid=11226.