Texas: Downtown Austin's Iconic Central Fire Station Considers a Careful Upgrade

  • Source: TOWERS Austin
  • Published: 12/22/2020 12:00 AM

PHOTOS: Dating back to 1938, the New Deal-financed Austin Central Fire Station No. 1 sitting at 401 East Fifth Street on the northwest corner of Brush Square is an unlikely gem of downtown architecture, one of the few really striking examples of the Art Deco subset known as Moderne or Streamline Moderne in the city’s stock of public buildings — unfortunately, great vintage design doesn’t necessarily mesh with the facilities requirements of modern firefighting, meaning the Austin Fire Department has tolerated a growing list of frustrations with operating out of the the aging structure despite its obvious historic merit to those of us not actually fighting the fires. But even as the city prepares to improve the public amenities of the surrounding Brush Square — including our friends at the O. Henry house and the Austin Fire Museum located in the station itself — the task of modernizing the facility is a growing civic priority.


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