Chemical No. 5 Firehouse
166 Cleveland Ave. at St. Catherine's Court, Buffalo, New York
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At left, St. Catherine's Court, originally part of the John J. Albright estate


Art Nouveau style tie rods and lettering

Art Nouveau style tie rod

Foliated corbel

Foliated corbel


Bellcote provided ventilation as well as space for the bell

Slate roof

Rear and east elevations

Hay loft crane


Edward A. Kent

Original Name:

Engine No. 37

Renamed Chemical No. 5 because of the practice of fighting fires with a mixture of chemicals and baking soda to increase water pressure.


On the northwest corner of the estate of John J. Albright. Kent also designed the Unitarian Universalist Church on W. Ferry and Elmwood, also originally on the Albright estate. When Albright donated the land and money for the church, he reserved approval rights for the building design. Perhaps a similar arrangement took place regarding the firehouse.




Art Nouveau details (wrought-iron decorative pieces (construction rods) and name in front of building)


The great beams that arch over the interior of the ground floor were delivered from North Carolina, the only place where wood of that quality could be obtained. The wooden beams span 30 feet and are reinforced with steel.

High steep roof built to accommodate the hoses that were hoisted there to dry.

A bit of history:

Chemical #5 was built to accommodate horse-drawn fire equipment. It stabled horses on the ground floor, with space on the second for the crew and for feed for the horses.

Building ceased being a firehouse about 1969. In 1989 University at Buffalo's Dean of the Architecture and Environmental Design Bruno Freschi and his wife turned the firehouse into a residence and studio.

Originally, there was a 6-foot terra cotta gargoyle , hind legs but no front legs, a long neck and a hyena-like head and little wings.

The firehouse captain was John McTigue, nearly 7 feet tall


See also:

Photos and their arrangement © 2001 Chuck LaChiusa
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