- Associated Press - Sunday, May 10, 2015

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - The historic Main Street firehouse in Rapid City is still serving a purpose in the community 100 years after it opened, if not for what it was originally intended.

The station served as the headquarters for the Rapid City Fire Department for 60 years. But the department outgrew the building, moving to a new headquarters several blocks down Main Street.

The building is now being used as a restaurant, brewery and playhouse, the Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/1cu7BSu ) reported. Building owner Bob Fuchs opened Rapid City’s first microbrewery in the old firehouse in 1991, and he has planned a centennial celebration for the building that is now home to The Firehouse Brewing Co.

“It’ll be wonderful,” Fuchs said of the event scheduled for Saturday. “There’s no doubt it’s going to be a fun weekend.”

The firehouse was built in 1915 due to a growing need for downtown headquarters for the city’s fire department. Volunteer firefighters, who were split into competing hose companies, previously didn’t have a place to store an expanding supply of hose carts and hook-and-ladders.

“They had all this equipment, but no place to put it,” said Lt. Jeff Bauer, historian for the Rapid City Fire Dept. “They used to keep carts in barns, wherever they could find space.”

The building was located on a dirt road in the heart of a busy business district that included a theater, hardware store, department store and cafe.

“They finally had a place they could meet and stay overnight while they were on duty,” Bauer said.

The city’s four hose companies, which were formed in the mid-1880s, remained independent until a single fire department was established in 1931. The fire department was a volunteer organization until a paid staff of 14 full-time firefighters was formed in 1948.

The department eventually outgrew the firehouse, whose condition was deteriorating, and moved into the new main fire station in 1975, also alleviating problems with downtown traffic congestion.


Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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