This Italianate firehouse is a monument to the volunteer fire companies that once protected cities like Fond du Lac. Citizens here organized the first bucket brigade in 1849, but a devastating fire three years later spurred the creation of a fully equipped volunteer fire company. By 1874, the number of volunteer companies in town had grown to five. The next year, the Aetna Company became the city’s firefighting headquarters, housed in this fine two-story, cream brick building, designed by local architect Green. Handsome details include paired brick pilasters topped by scrolled brackets. The pilasters divide the upper level into three bays, each filled with segmental-arched windows with ornate keystones, stone impost and corner blocks, and heavy stone sills. A massive corbel table, wooden dentils, and a pediment crown the composition. To the rear, a four-story bell tower with an arcaded belvedere was added in 1878. The bell rang the fire alarm and the city’s curfew, which came at eight o’clock in winter and nine o’clock in summer. Inside the tower, firefighters hung the long fire hoses to dry.
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Aetna Fire Station No. 5
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