New Deal in Mississippi: West End Fire Station

West End 3

The Biloxi Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, the first fire company for the city, was organized September 3, 1883 (The Daily Picayune, September 6, 1883, p. 1, R. L. Bellande, Biloxi Historical Society).  West End Fire Co. No. 3 was organized in 1904.

Architect John T. Collins designed the 1937 West End fire station, which was constructed by the city with assistance from the Works Progress Administration. Collins was born in Biloxi, and graduated from Tulane University School of Architecture in 1928 (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory).

The captain of the newly constructed facility was Walter Clark (New equipment fire department, Biloxi Daily Herald, May 14, 1937, p. 1, 3.).  Fire station programs announced in December 1936:

The fire station projects totals $15,397 with sponsor’s contribution at $2,160 and is employing 14 laborers, one intermediate, seven skilled, a timekeeper and a superintendent.  It calls for filling in the West End fire station lot, erecting a modern station and landscaping the grounds. (Outline Biloxi WPA program, Biloxi Daily Herald, December 31, 1936, p. 1, 7)

The fire station was featured in Preservation in Mississippi’s Concrete Block Structures of Biloxi (Thomas Rosell, August 19, 2010).  At the time, a $70,000 restoration had just been completed.  Most recently in November 2014, the museum reopened after a period of closure to repair roof and interior damage, and the pumper station doors (Biloxi fire museum…, WLOX.com).

The building currently houses the Biloxi Fire Museum.  The museum houses antique fire equipment as well as historic photographs, some of which may be viewed at the link to the museum.



Categories: Biloxi, Gulf Coast, Historic Preservation, New Deal

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5 replies

  1. This is a wonderful example of how the Mississippi Federation of Women’s Clubs on the corner of State Street and Woodrow Wilson in Jackson, MS, should be cared for. The red doors are very beautiful.

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  2. If you ever get a chance to visit the fire museum they have a 1937 piece of drywall with the builders signatures on display, along with a display of the building’s plans.

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  3. Did you find any pictures of the original building? It is a very interesting design, love the simple lines that give it character!

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    • That building in Jackson, in the midst of new UMMC development, was the subject of a proposed bill allowimg the state to gain control of the parcel. It didn’t make it out of committee, and I can’t remember who sponsored it, but it would interesting to trace its genesis… In case it appears again in the 2016 session.

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