Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Fire Station No.7
The San Antonio Fire Station No. 7 is located on a traffic island at 604 South Alamo Street near its intersection with Lavaca Street. The two-story Spanish Colonial Revival-style building was designed by Seutter and Simons Architects and constructed in 1924 by local builders A. E. Rheiner and Company (Stepan 1987). Its original purpose was to provide fire protection to San Antonio’s central business district as well as to the neighborhoods in the vicinity of the King William and Lavaca Historic Districts. Although more modern facilities have been constructed to serve the city’s needs, the building remains an outstanding example of Spanish Colonial Revival-style architecture in the area and is evocative of the types of municipal buildings constructed in San Antonio during the early twentieth century (Harris et al 2011).
The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Lavaca Historic District. Though it is similar in form to other fire stations built in the city during the period, it does possess some unique architectural features worthy of note. Prominent elements of the Spanish Colonial Revival-style visible on the structure include a hipped roof clad in red Spanish tile, arched window openings, and a small iron balcony or “balconet.”
The building’s location on a traffic island provides views of all exterior sides and highlights its proportional and symmetrical design. Generally, the windows on the second story align with its lower story openings. In particular, each grouping of three upper story arched windows corresponds to an arched opening on the first story (Stepan 1987).
Other features that distinguish this fire station from its counterparts constructed during the same period include “delicate window mullions, venetian windows, arched entries, simple geometric forms, graceful lines, and consistent tile patterns” that give the building a formal appearance not typically seen in buildings designed to house basic city services such as fire or police protection (Stepan 1987). The most prominent building materials used were red tile and buff colored brick. Historically, the first floor housed office space while the second floor was used as living quarters for firemen. Though not currently open to the public, the building is readily visible from the Mission Trails hike-and-bike trail.
Harris, Brandy, Amy McWhorter, Kelley Russell, and Casey Hanson
2011 - Historic Resources Reconnaissance Survey Report, “Mission Trails” Enhancement Project, Package V Final Hike-and-Bike Trail Amenities, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, TxDOT San Antonio District, PBS&J, Austin, Texas, Document No. 100231.
Stepan, S. (City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation)
1987 - City Council Historic Sites and Structures Task Force, Inventory Check Sheet, Fire Station No. 7, Copy on file at the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation.