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. More pictures and history»

189 Commercial Street

 
Firehouse Comfort Station
In a windswept town made of wood-framed buildings, fire is a dreadful and relentless enemy. That’s why you don’t have to walk far to see more than one fire house. It was for good reason that they seemed to be everywhere: 117 Commercial, 189 Commercial, 254 Commercial, 351 Commercial, 514 Commercial and 4 Johnson Street. Volunteer companies were summoned to their respective houses by an alarm sounded at Town Hall. Two blasts were a call for Pumper House 2.

This station was decomissioned in 1988. After the new fire headquarters was opened on Shank Painter Road, this building was to be turned into a visitor information center with much-needed public restrooms. More history and pictures»

254 Commercial Street

 
Former Fire House No. 3 | Former Fire Department Headquarters

The two-story building at 254 Commercial Street was constructed around 1859 for Rescue Hook and Ladder Company No. 1. This was also the firehouse for Pumper No. 3, the Ulysses. The truck bay is now frequently in use as an information or solicitation center for civic and nonprofit events. (In many older accounts, you will see No. 254 assigned to Adams Pharmacy, while this building is given the street address 256A Commercial Street.)

351 Commercial Street

 
Former Fire House No. 5 | Good Scents for the Body

There are French doors these days on the truck bay, and it’s hard to imagine that the men who manned the Fire Department’s chemical extinguisher truck could have foreseen a time when the chemicals at No. 351 would be manufactured by Roger & Gallet and Caswell-Massey. But the bright red paint job helps evoke this building’s past as a fire house, which was in service until sometime in the mid 1940s. The building received differing designations over the years, depending in part on the equipment housed there, but it is referred to as No. 5 in a number of accounts. More pictures and history»

514 Commercial Street

 
Fire Station No. 5

Engine Company 5, which is housed here, is the first responding unit to fires in the East End, from Howland Street to the Truro town line. It was summoned by five blasts on a siren atop Town Hall. The house was built in 1870 and has been known over the years by several designations, including Hose Company No. 1, Pumper Company No. 4 and Pumper Company No. 5. The latter change, from No. 4 to No. 5, occurred in 1957, when Arthur B. Silva (±1893-1962) was the captain. Silva — standing third from the left, in a white shirt — was the Town Harbormaster and Wharfinger at the time of his death. He had also been the Town Sealer of Weights and Measures, a fisherman and a car salesman. More pictures and history»

4 Johnson Street

4 Johnson Street, Provincetown (2008), by David W. Dunlap. 
4 Johnson Street, Provincetown (2012), by David W. Dunlap.Fire Station No. 4

Always a fire house, this structure has been known by several designations since its construction in 1888: Steamer-Hose Company 3, Pumper Company 3 and Engine Company 4. It has been the home of at least two celebrated fire trucks: an Amoskeag steamer made by the Manchester Locomotive Works in New Hampshire in 1889 and a pumper truck made by American LaFrance in Elmira, N.Y., in 1936. The pumper, designated Engine 4, was decommissioned in 1976 but has been painstakingly rebuilt in recent years and is now a top star of any parade in which it appears. More pictures and history»

25 Shank Painter Road

25 Shank Painter Road, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Engine 1 (also designated Engine 190) went into service in 2002. [Link] 

25 Shank Painter Road, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap.Provincetown Fire Department Headquarters

With the construction in 1993-1994 of a new four-bay fire house and adjacent headquarters building, the Provincetown Fire Department — one of only two volunteer departments on Cape Cod — consolidated operations from three different locations in the West End and downtown: Pumper House No. 1, 117 Commercial Street (now a private home); Pumper House No. 2, 189 Commercial Street (now a public restroom); and Pumper House No. 3, the former headquarters, at 254 Commercial Street (now a kind of all-purpose streetfront public space).

25 Shank Painter Road, Provincetown (2010), by David W. Dunlap.Ladder 2 (192) of 2009 [Link] and Engine 3 (193) of 2003 [Link]. 

More pictures and history»