Indianapolis Firefighters Museum
Preserving the Past
In 1996, Local 416 opened the Indianapolis Firefighters Museum to celebrate the history of the Fire Service in central Indiana and the fire department’s contribution to the Indianapolis community.
In 1984, the President of Local 416, Mike Schenk, and his Executive Board were on the search for a location for a new Union Hall. It was then that they came across Fire Station #2 which had opened in January of 1872 near the corner of College and Massachusetts Ave. At the time, Fire Station #2 was coincidentally enough, a firetrap filled with flammable remains of a laminating business.
Indianapolis Firefighters Union then decided to restore Fire Station #2 along with an adjacent livery stable. With a good amount of community support, the building has been restored and stands as an anchor on the north end of Massachusetts Avenue along with art galleries, small shops, restaurants, and hotels.
- The museum features a 1921 Stutz ladder truck, a 1919 Stutz pumper, a 1941 IFD Shop-built pumper, and a 1949 International Harvester pumper refurbished by members of the former Warren Township Fire Department. Memorabilia, photos, and equipment have been donated by local firefighters.
Today historic station #2 features classical and Italianate details, a restored bell tower, and twin fire poles. Station #2 also serves as the Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Union Headquarters,
The museum is open Monday – Friday 9 am – 4 pm and on Saturdays from April – October 11 am – 4 pm.
You can also visit our digital collection at: https://www.digitalindy.org/digital/custom/ifd
History of Fire Station #2
In 1872, Indianapolis was a growing city. To better protect its wood building structure, four fire stations were built in downtown Indianapolis within a mile radius. Fire Station #2 was built in 1872, and designed by Robert Platt Daggett, a Connecticut-born architect, and Matthew Roth.
In 1894 a livery stable was built next door. The first floor contained horse stalls. The second floor was storage for carriages and a veterinary surgeon’s practice.
By 1932, steam-driven fire engines had disappeared and larger gasoline-fueled fire engines began to dominate. The city then retired the station in 1933.
The building had housed many businesses over the years and had suffered major neglect and was in extreme disrepair by 1984.
In front of the museum is the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Plaza. This Memorial was dedicated in 1996 to the memory of the 73 firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Today the names of 120 Line of Duty Deaths appear on our Memorial.
Our LODD memorial was inspired by the tragic loss of two firefighters at the Indianapolis Athletic Club in 1992. It is here where we have the annual reading of the names of the firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice. The memorial stands as a testimony to the commitment and duty of the Indianapolis firefighters.
The area on the East end of our building is the Walk of Distinction. Etched in large blocks of Indiana limestone are the names of Local 416 war veterans who actively fought in foreign campaigns protecting our great country.
Educating the Future
The Firefighters Museum, and also serves as the Survive Alive safety program for children. Using an interactive village, The Survive Alive program uses state-of-the-art technology to simulate fire in a mock house to teach children how to react during a fire and what to say when calling 911. This program reaches approximately, 20,000 schoolchildren a year.
Contact the Indianapolis Fire Department Community Risk Reduction and Fire Prevention Bureau to schedule a visit to Survive Alive at 317-327-6094