Tampa Firefighters Museum


LOCATION:
  770 East Zack Street, Tampa, FL 33602

BUILT:  1911

ORIGINAL FUNCTION:  Tampa Fire Department Headquarters

PHOTO CREDITS: Randy Van Duienen, Architectural Photographer

Old Number One was built in 1911 as Florida’s first stand-alone fire headquarters building.  The building was home to both the fire department headquarters and a fire station for 67 years before being replaced by the new headquarters building across the street.  In 1996 a group of active and retired fire fighters helped create a museum about fire fighting, fire safety and the history of the Tampa Fire Department. 

The exterior was restored revealing the handsome early 20th century brick vernacular structure. The base is composed of yellow sand brick, the walls of red brick and the corbelled cornice in the yellow sand brick topped by a red brick parapet.  Yellow sand brick was a common accent used in Tampa in the early twentieth century. 

The functions of the headquarters and fire station are reflected in the treatment of the exterior.  The headquarters, located at the corner of Zack and Jefferson is articulated by brick quoins and raised parapet details.  The original doors were replicated using historic photos and physical evidence as a guide.  Original windows were restored and used as a template for those that were missing. 

The addition was designed to complement and contrast with the historic fire station rather than mimic it.  This is the recommended approach to additions by the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation.  Both the interior and exterior of the historic structure were restored to their original condition where possible.  All significant spaces were preserved and restored.  The interior and addition were completed in 2007.

Today, the Tampa Fire Fighters Museum is a place of learning.   Located across the street from the main Fire Headquarters, the Museum informs the public about fire safety, fire house life, the history of fire fighting in Tampa and elsewhere.   A large segment of the community is interested in the nature of the day-to-day activities and function a fire station.  Kids of all ages love to visit firehouses.  This museum tells the stories and shares the experiences of firemen’s lives, both heroic and mundane, with the public.