When you step foot into the Jacksonville Fire Museum, you step foot into history. In the early 1900s, the structure located on Catherine Street, was known as “Catherine Street Fire Station #3.” Much of Downtown Jacksonville was still in the rebuilding phase from The Great Fire of 1901.
In 1886, the Jacksonville City Council passed an ordinance creating a fire department. The department initially consisted of three stations and 17 men. Station #3 was manned entirely by African Americans, with a hose reel pulled by a horse named George.
After the station’s disbandment in 1933, the building was used to host department shop facilities and then as a storage facility. The Catherine Street Fire Station was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on June 13, 1972, and turned into the Jacksonville Fire Museum in 1982.
More than a century later, the Fire Museum is adjacent to Metropolitan Park. The museum is home to a variety of exhibits and artifacts that depict the evolution of Jacksonville’s fire service from its start in the 1850s to the present. The city’s fire service has seen the introduction of motorized vehicles in the 1920s, the creation of Jacksonville’s Rescue Division in the 1960s and the establishment of JFRD’s Hazardous Materials team in the 1970s.
The museum is currently closed for renovations, but expected to open Fall of 2018.