Engine Company #13

 Posted by on November 14, 2013
Nov 142013

1458 Valencia Street

Oldest Firehouse in San Francisco

Built in 1883, this is the City’s oldest standing firehouse.  In the heart of the Mission District, this rare brick firehouse in the Victorian Italianate style has a front surface made entirely of cast iron detail.  Such buildings are very rare in San Francisco with most clustered in the Jackson Square area.

On the conversion from horse drawn to motorized apparatus, the company was assigned a 1916 American LaFrance Type 12 Chemical and Hose Car with a 35 gallon chemical tank with a 6 cylinder 100 HP engine.

Engine Co. No. 13 remained assigned here until 1958.  The firehouse was sold at the City’s surplus property auction and is now privately owned.

Company History:
1883   Engine Co. No. 13 organized and assigned to quarters
1906   Earthquake or Fire damage to the firehouse, $2,000
1917   Converted to motorized apparatus
1918   August 15th, Battalion 6 organized and assigned to quarters
1941   November 1st, Battalion 6 relocated to the quarters of Engine Co. No. 7, 3160 – 16th Street
1941   November 1st, Division 3, commanded by an Assistant Chief, is organized and assigned to quarters
1954   October 14th, Division 3 relocated to the quarters of Engine Co. No. 10, 2300 Folsom Street
1958   February 7th, Engine Co. No. 13 relocated to new quarters at 3880 – 26th Street
1959   Sold at a City & County of San Francisco public auction

Front Doors of Firehouse on Valencia Street

Experiences Engine Company #13. 1458 Valencia St. San Francisco

On the morning of the earthquake April 18th, 1906, our Company first removed the horses and apparatus to a place of safety in the street, from where we responded to a still alarm at 22nd & Mission Sts. Arriving there we found Lippman’s Drygoods Store on fire, and took the hydrant on the corner of Bartlett & 22nd Sts., but could get no water; therefore we canvassed the neighborhood testing all hydrants but were not successful in obtaining water until we reached Valencia & 22nd Sts. We worked under directions of Battalion Chief McKittrick and with the aid of other Companies were able to extinguish this fire at 12 M, April 18th, 1906.

Our next move was to Hayes Valley where we reported to Chief Dougherty who sent us to Laguna & Oak Sts., but finding three engines in line from that hydrant we searched the neighborhood for water but were unable to obtain any. Battalion Chief Dolan directed us to the corner of Gough and Eddy Sts. and in connection with Engine Company #24, we led a line to the corner of Gough & Grove Sts., fighting the fire at that point under command of Battalion Maxwell. We fought the fire in this vicinity for sixteen hours finally saving the corner of Gough & Golden Gate Ave.

On April 19th, at about 4 A. M. we were ordered to Fifteenth & Shotwell Sts., reporting to Battalion Chief McKittrick. We were able to save the East side of Shotwell St., north of Fifteenth St. and worked in this vicinity until three P. M. of April 19th, 1906. Finding water at Fifteenth & Valencia Sts., we led down to Mission St., fighting the fire at that point, but finding the pressure inadequate we removed to Eighteenth & Howard Sts., connecting with a broken main.

We next endeavored to obtain water at Church & Twentieth Sts., but finding other Companies in line at this point, we assisted in this vicinity until the fire was extinguished on Twentieth St. We were finally ordered to our quarters at 11 A. M. April 20th, 1906, having been in duty 53 hours.

S. & P.

(signed) Daniel Newell, Capt

(From the UC Berkeley Library Archives of there 1906 Fire and Earthquake)

Engine Company #13 San Francisco pre 1906



  2 Responses to “Engine Company #13”

  1. I wonder what they do in there now?

  2. Lovely old building, I’m sure they’ve done some nice things inside to convert it to personal use. I’ve seen some old firehouses around Wisconsin here this past year and find them very interesting.