Charlotte Fire Station Number 7 is a narrow,
two-story, one-bay-wide, brick building that faces west and sits close
to North Davidson Street in Charlotte. The building is located
near the middle of the 3200 block, which is in the heart of the small
commercial district that historically served the North Charlotte
neighborhood. Neighboring one and two story brick storefront
buildings date from the early years of the 20th century, and are mixed
with later commercial/retail buildings. The fire station has retained a high degree of
integrity and is in good condition; and, despite its relatively small
size, the building remains prominent in the streetscape.
The building's decorative architectural
elements are concentrated on the symmetrical facade. Built on a
concrete slab, the brick walls rise from the grade and are laid (on the
front elevation) in
Common Flemish Bond.
The truck entrance to the firehouse is sheltered by a shallow portico
supported by two square brick posts. The posts have inset corners
on all sides, giving the appearance of a pilaster on the front of the
posts. The posts rise from granite bases and support a
wooden framed balcony.
The brick post extend through the balcony floor and form low brick
that are topped with simple cast caps. The posts support original
iron railings that feature a geometric design. Metal supports rest
on the low brick posts and support an aluminum awning that was added to
the building late in the 20th century. The low brick posts are
connected to the facade by a narrow section of iron railing. The
balcony and the doorway below it are recessed slightly into the facade. Square
pilaster frame the opening. The pilasters are topped with moulded
wooden trim. The balcony's rear wall is composed entirely of
original wooden millwork. An original wooden eight-light door is
centered in the balcony, and is topped with a three-light transom.
Pairs of eight-light casement windows border the doorway and are topped
with four two-light transom sash.
The pilasters are topped by pediment
decorated with dental moulding. The pediment protrudes slightly
from the facade and is protected by step-flashing. The recessed
center section of the facade gives the outer sections the appearance of
wide pilasters. This effect is most notable above the shallow pediment.
The large pilasters feature stone bands at the second-floor ceiling
height. Above the stone bands the outer corners of the pilasters are
inset. The facade is topped with a gabled parapet which is capped
with a course of stone.
In contrast to
the Common Flemish bond on the facade, the brickwork on the side
and rear elevations is laid in an American bond with five rows
of stretchers laid between each row of headers.
station's side elevations can be divided into bays that are
delineated by narrow brick piers. The piers stop at the
ceiling height of the first story and are topped with sloped
stone caps. The projecting brick piers indicate the
location of three interior steel beams that run the width of the
building, allowing for the open floor plan in the first
story. Door and window openings are unadorned, with
a soldier-course of brick laying across each metal header.
New metal-framed doors and windows have replaced the original
wooden millwork in the original openings. On the south
elevation, the first story features a single-light door adjacent
to the facade. The upper floor features single and double
windows. The rearmost wall opening has been infilled with
brick. An iron arm attached into the brickwork might
indicate that the opening originally served to load coal into
the basement. A moulded wooden band tops the side walls
and meets a narrow eave overhang.
The iron arm shown
in this photograph was used to load fuel into the basement.
The north elevation is partially obscured by a
recent one-story addition. The small brick addition is topped by a
low-pitch hipped roof, and is set-back from the front of the building in
a sensitive manner so that it does not detract greatly from the historic
facade. Similar window openings as those found on the south
elevation pierce the north elevation.
This photograph of
the southwestern corner of the building demonstrates the two
different brick patterns on the exterior of the building. The
Common Flemish Bond, a bond with five rows of stretchers separated
by a single row of alternating headers and stretchers.
The side and rear elevations feature a much more typical American
Bond pattern, with five rows of stretcher bricks laid between each row of
locking header bricks
rear of the fire station features a one-story wing that once served as a
small jail. Sanborn Maps indicate that the one-story wing was of
fireproof construction. This probably means that in addition to the
solid masonry walls common to the entire building the jail portion
features a concrete roof. The roof has been covered with a composite
roofing material. The rear wing is inset from the principal section
of the fire station. The flat roof of the wing slopes slightly to the
rear and is bordered on both sides by low, flat parapets capped
with a course of cast concrete blocks. The flat roof was
designed to serve as a balcony, and the original iron pipe railings have
survived. An original door opening on the south elevation has been
retained, but all of the original window openings have been filled with
design of the fire station's low-pitched gabled-roof is most apparent
from the rear. The second story features simple eave returns and
an original wooden half-round louvered vent in the gable. A simple
square brick flue is located where the south elevation of the rear wing
meets the principal section of the building. The flue rises from
the basement and is topped with a simple concrete cap.