117 Commercial Street

Former Pumper House No. 1

Built in 1858, a year before the Fire Department was formally organized, this structure was originally designated Fire House No. 2 and carried that designation at least through 1910. The cupola, its most distinctive feature after the truck bay itself, marked the loft in which hoses were dried. For much of the 20th century, these were the quarters of Pumper Company No. 1, first responders to any fire in the far West End, signified by a single blast of the alarm on Town Hall. One of the longest-term volunteers here was Joseph Andrews, who was a member of this house for 29 years — 23 of them on the Board of Engineers — until his retirement in 1980.

Pumper House No. 1 was decommissioned in 1993 and is currently a private home in which the truck bay doubles as a front porch. It has been owned since 2002 by Bryan Rafanelli of Rafanelli Events in Boston, one of the more celebrated contemporary event planners — think Chelsea Clinton’s wedding — and his partner, Mark Walsh (b ±1961), a deputy in the State Department protocol office (Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, “New Power Couple: Mark Walsh, Partner of V.I.P. Wedding Planner Bryan Rafanelli, Joins Hillary Clinton at State Department,” The Washington Post, 11 July 2011).





One thought on “117 Commercial Street

  1. I like checking out the current porch look when I walk by. This one is nice but maybe too Ralph Lauren (for me). Sometimes the porch has a hint of humor. All efforts appreciated, in any case.

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