Broadway Fountain during the Fall.
Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
Madison, Indiana

Washington Fire Company No.2

The Washington Fire Company No. 2, built in 1850

The Washington Fire Company No. 2,
built in 1850
National Park Service

The Washington Fire Company No.2, located on West Third Street just blocks away from some of Madison’s finest 19th-century houses, is the oldest active fire station in Indiana. It is the first and only home of the Washington Fire Company, the second volunteer fire company formed during the 1840s after Madison’s paid municipal fire company folded after only ten months of service.

Completed in 1850, and designed by Mathew Temperly and William or Isaac Dutton, the simple building is one of the last remaining Greek Revival firehouses in the United States still in use. The two-story brick building’s most defining exterior features include a triangular pediment and a short, wood-frame bell tower. The long, narrow building plan allowed adequate room on the ground floor to store cumbersome fire equipment and comfortably stable the horses that pulled 19th-century fire pumps and engines. The upper story is designed as a common area for the company’s meetings and social events and is more comfortably furnished than the utilitarian lower story. The second floor still features its original painted screen wall, which reads “Organized January 20, 1846, Washington Fire Company No. 2, Incorporated January 13, 1849.” The wall is lavishly decorated with a red and gilt frieze and a Tuscan architrave based on a plate in one of Minard Lafever’s pattern books.

Twentieth-century advancements in firefighting technology, such as larger gas-engine fire trucks, necessitated a few changes in the firehouse’s façade, most notably to the equipment bay door, but overall the brick building looks remarkably similar to when it first opened more than 150 years ago. The Washington Fire Company No. 2 pays homage to its past by having its motorized fire vehicle sport the original nickel-plated number “2” and fire bell that served on the first steam apparatus.

The Washington Fire Company No. 2 contributes to the historic significance of the Madison Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.

Plan your visit

The Washington Fire Company No. 2, located at 104 W. Third St., is an active firehouse. Click here for the Madison Historic District National Historic Landmark file: text. The Fire House is not open to the public but is easily viewed from the street.

The Washington Fire Company No. 2 has been documented by the National Park Service’s Historic American Buildings Survey.

Next page
Comments or Questions

Itinerary Home | List of sites | Maps | Learn More | Credits | Other Itineraries | NR Home | Search