THE EASTSIDE’S QUAINTEST FIREHOUSE, J.B. Richardson Engine Co. 14, turns 100 years old this fall. In celebration the Nashville Fire Department (NFD) will host an open house for the centenarian from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1. As East Nashville’s neighborhood landscape continues to change and evolve with brightly colored, dubious duplexes appearing overnight, along with the influx of new businesses and transplants to the area, this historic staple has remained the same. Situated at the corner of Holly and 16 th Avenue, Station 14 still looks much like it did a century ago, despite costly renovations made to it over the years.
During the open house, local officials and NFD members will give speeches on the history of the building, which happens to be the oldest active fire hall in the city. At the time it was erected in 1914, horse-driven steam engines were still being used in fire control. Fire Deputy Chief Danny Yates said, “When Station 14 was built, it was constructed as the NFD’s first to house a gasoline-powered fire engine.” Yates grew up in East Nashville and served as the station’s captain in the ’90s.
On top of a quick history lesson, attendees will also have a chance to check out some antique fire engines and slide down the last remaining brass fire pole in Music City. They will also allow you to tour the firehouse in its entirety.
It is through the work of Lockeland Springs neighbors and Nashville’s Metropolitan Historical Commission that Engine Co. 14 has made it to its hundredth year. Not only has the fire hall survived a number of natural disasters, in the ’70s it resisited efforts to demolish and rebuild in a new location. It has since been given the Preservation Award through the city’s historical commission. Yates also noted that the area’s sense of community is vital to the station, which makes for a pretty noisy neighbor. Yates said, “Holly Street is different because it isn’t like the other cookie cutter stations. It’s unique, and people around there are always friendly. They stop in; they wave at you as you go by. During the six years I spent there it was obvious right away that people were happy that you were there, and they appreciate you. That makes our job even better.”