Charlotte Fire Station Number 4
Charlotte Fire Station Number 4 is a flat-roofed,
three-bay-wide, two-story brick building set back less than twenty-five
feet from West Fifth Street in Charlotte's Fourth Ward. The building is
located near the intersection of Graham and Fifth Streets and faces
south on a half-acre lot that slopes to the rear. The building is now
bordered by empty lots. Until recently the neighboring building to the
east was a ca. 1927 one-story, brick car dealership. New high-rise
construction dominates the neighborhood to the south and to the east.
To the west and to the rear of the fire station there is a good collection of
one, two, and three-story commercial buildings that extend north along
Graham Street. The fire station has retained a high degree of
integrity and is in good condition.
The building is fronted by a concrete apron that is
integrated into the neighboring sidewalk and features a single curb-cut.
The facade is symmetrical with three large doors
designed to accommodate fire engines. At ground level the brickwork of
the fašade is buttressed by large curved concrete blocks. These blocks
served to protect the load-bearing walls and piers from damage that
could have been caused by the fire engines.
The rusticated bricks on the exterior of the
building are laid in a veneer of running bond over thick solid brick
wall laid in a six-to-one American
||The exposed brickwork in
the interior of the building demonstrates the six-to-one American
Bond pattern, with six rows of stretcher bricks laid between each row of
locking header bricks
Original large folding wooden doors have been replaced by
overhead doors. Bolt-holes in the brickwork appear to show where
the original hinges were located. The doors openings are now filled with
segmented, rolling overhead doors that date from the mid twentieth
century. The doors are constructed of oak, and are six segments tall, and
each segment is composed of six panels. The lower two segments
and the top segment in each
door contains plywood panels, while the remaining segments are glazed.
|| Detail of Overhead Door
Each door opening is bordered on the top by a course
of soldier brick that conceal the steel lintels that support the wide
door openings. Each of the door openings is topped with a recessed
rectangular brick panel highlighted with narrow vertical stone blocks
set at each side of the panels. The panels are bordered by vertical
stone trim that is set into the brickwork and extends four courses of
brick below the top of the door openings. This vertical stone trim
protrudes slightly from the brickwork and each section of trim is
composed of two narrow stone blocks, one set above the other.
||Detail of facade shows trim,
brickwork and steel lintels.
The second story is pierced by three large segmental-arched window openings that utilize
projecting moulded stone band as a common sill. Below each window
unit and below the stone band is a course of soldier bricks that align
with the panels and door openings below. The wide window openings
are divided into three window frames that originally held double-hung
multi-light sash. All of fire staiton's exterior windows have been
replaced with large single units of insulated glass directly glazed into
The windows are topped with one-and-one-half brick
segmental arch, featuring a tall tapered keystone. Above the center
window opening is a
stone panel with "C.D.F NO 4" painted
in two-dimensional letters. Plain round stone shields or medallions
are set into the brickwork and are located above the other second-story
window openings on the facade. The facade appears to be topped
with a low parapet wall decorated with a stone cap that is now partially
obscured with metal.
The west elevation of the fire station is four bays deep
and features tall segmental-arched window openings, all of which have
been filled with fixed panels that resemble closed shutters. The
segmental arches are composed of a simple courses of soldier bricks, and
the window sills are a simple row of corbelled bricks. The second story is pierced
with eight shorter, equally spaced segmental-arched window openings.
The fourth window opening from the rear has been enlarged into a doorway
and connects to a metal fire escape-type stairway. The remainder
of the windows on the second floor, like the front, are directly glazed
with a single unit of insulated glass.
The fire station's rear features a
dramatically square-shouldered external chimney centered on the elevation.
A square brick flue is located near the east corner. The rear is pierced
by a segmental-arched doorway accessed by original concrete steps.
A narrow window opening is set low in the wall and may have given light
to a basement mechanical room. The second story contains two wide
double window opening, each divided into two window frames.
Scuppers at the rear of the building allow for rainwater to drain off
the roof into downspouts.
The east elevation features an original segmental-arched
doorway adjacent to the facade. The doorway contains a replacement
door and large transom, now covered with a panel. Other
fenestration on the first story includes two tall windows, and two squat
window openings adjacent to the rear of the building, that originally
illuminated the watch room. Second-story
fenestration on the east elevation is composed of eight evenly spaced
windows. The parapet wall on the side elevations is topped with a
stone cap, and steps down a single course of brick to the rear.
From the Northwest
Early 20th-Century Photograph
The interior of the Charlotte Fire Station Number 4 has retained a high
degree of integrity. The first-story floor is poured concrete slab.
The building's exterior walls are exposed brick in the interior. A high,
poured-concrete "baseboard" runs along the perimeter of the slab floor.
in the first story, windows feature simple sloping and flush concrete stools. The interior
space in the first story is largely open and does not require posts or interior
load-bearing walls. A series of massive 24" deep steel I-beams span
the width of the building. The ceiling and the beams are clad in plaster
over metal lath. A new watch office has been constructed on
brick piers in the rear of the interior space. The original watch office
and captain's office remain and have been converted to a storage area.
Original features including doors, interior windows, beaded board walls, and
wooden trim have survived in the watch office and captain's office. A
staircase at the rear of the building has been reconfigured below the the
original midway landing.
story of the fire station features the original narrow-strip pine floor, plaster walls and
ceilings. The walls feature tall baseboards with moulded caps, and are
topped with moulded crown trim. Windows and surviving original door openings are
surrounded with simple wooden trim. Some new interior walls have been
added to what was originally a large open space where the firefighters lived in
a barracks-like room.
The outlines of three
original fire-pole holes are still visible in the second story
The dining room features a
Floor and skylight
are original features of the bathroom
Some of the original rooms in
second story of the
fire station have survived in their original configuration. The largest of
the surviving original rooms is the dining room. The dining room features
large brick fireplace with a simple concrete hearth and wooden shelf.
A soldier-course of brick was added at some point to reduce the size of the
fireplace opening. An original bathroom feature a raised tile floor and a
In terms of
Charlotte's built environment,
Charlotte Fire Station Number 4 is significant as
one of several fire stations built in Charlotte before World War II in response
to the growth of the city and the technical and professional development of
firefighting. Of the four surviving fire stations built during this
period, the three-bay-wide Charlotte Fire Station Number 4 is the largest.
The size of the station reflects the historical commercial and residential
density of the center city area.
| Station No.4
|| Station No. 5
|Station No. 6
||Station No. 7