You are here

Vigilant Hose Company

-A A +A
1891, Charles P. Hamilton, W. A. Wilson and Son, builders. 648–650 Main Street (east side of Main St. near the intersection with 7th St.)
  • (West Virginia Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
  • Vigilant Hose Company (Jack E. Boucher)

In its July 4, 1881, issue, Manufacturers Record announced that C. P. Hamilton would design a new fire station for Wheeling, that it would measure 37 feet by 85 feet, and that it would cost some $7,500. The announcement politely failed to mention why a new firehouse was needed, but Wheeling's intrepid Intelligencer had no qualms. The newspaper's reporter caustically mused that it seemed “a little odd” that a firehouse should have burned down, “especially in the daylight when the whole force is on duty.”

The new structure was designed to house two fire engines with quarters above for very thin firemen, if the extraordinarily narrow door between the broad fire engine portals can be taken as evidence. The fire station was designed to fit quite comfortably in scale and detail with the neighboring houses, most built at the same time, and embellished with similar ornamentation. Unfortunately, an iron pediment, with the date 1891 inscribed on it, which centered the roofline, has been removed. After a new fire station replaced this one in 1972, the building served for a time as a restaurant and nightclub. The current fire-engine-red paint dates from that incarnation.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.


What's Nearby


S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Vigilant Hose Company", [Wheeling, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.