The City of Racine purchased the site in 1869 for $1,000, but deferred the actual construction of a new building for over a decade. After several unsuccessful bids for an engine house, Alderman Lucius Blake convinced the Common Council to approve a new building. In May of 1881, the council accepted a design from David R. Jones, a Madison architect. Jones' design, in the Victorian Italianate style, called for a two-story building with a tower, and clad in cream brick with stone acents [sic]. Construction was delayed at the start, but the company was able to move in by December 1, 1881.
Engine Company No. 3
Engine Company No. 3 was formed in 1849, one year after Racine was incorporated as a city. The volunteer company was made up almost exclusively of Welsh immigrants. The company's original home was on Seventh Street, between Main and Wisconsin. Two years after Engine Company No. 3 moved into their new home, the Racine Fire Department changed from volunteer service to a professional company. Engine House No. 3 remained in use until 1968. In 1976, as part of the National Bicentennial, the City of Racine restored the building.
[Photo captions read]
[1.] The engine house was originally designed to be on a corner. However, Grand Avenue was never constructed, and a plaza was built in its place. Instead of having a decorative front fa?ade and blank "party" walls on either side, the building has two fronts: one along modern-day Sixth Street, and another along the plaza where Grand Avenue would have been.
Photograph by Great Lakes Archeological Research Center, Inc. 2012
The Engine Company No. 3, photographed in 1907. Members included, from left to right: Henry Martin, John Fach, Captain John Diedish, Chief James Cape, William Billhorn, and Charles Jenista.
Image Property of Racine Heritage Museum Archival Collection. All Rights Reserved.