Throwback Thursday: Fire Company 16

Fire Co. 16 today

For today’s Throwback Thursday, we’re taking a closer look at the historic Fire Company 16, located at 773 E. McMillan St. The building was stabilized in 2012 by Max Construction Group using City of Cincinnati TIF (Tax Increment Financing) dollars, ensuring that it will remain standing in good repair for decades to come. The next step is to move forward with a full renovation and reuse! 

The dapper firefighters of yore
Fire Co. 16 in the 1930s

Designed by famed architect Samuel Hannaford, Fire Company 16 was built during a time of City expansion. Cincinnati in the 1850s and 1860s was booming. Transportation improvements allowed people to move further out from the Downtown area, and a vibrant suburb named Walnut Hills was annexed. Part of the annexation deal included City fire protection, and so Fire Co. 16 was founded. The firehouse was built in 1870 and put into operation on July 1 of that year. In 1871 it became a steam engine company, as Cincinnati was at the forefront of the steam-powered fire engine improvements happening across the country. Motorized engines were introduced in 1918, and Fire Co. 16 remained in operation for more than a century. In 1977 a fire damaged the firehouse, and on July 8, 1978 the station was disbanded. Fire Co. 16 still stands as Cincinnati’s oldest remaining firehouse.

Fire Co. 16 in the 1970s

Fire Company 16 is among the finest examples in Cincinnati of the Italianate architectural style, built with red brick and carved-stone window lintels. The first floor has a cavernous 15 ft. floor-to-ceiling height, and a the second floor has a 10 ft. height. Adjacent to the firehouse is another historic structure, the Hamilton House (currently undergoing stabilization), as well as assembled vacant parcels on both sides of McMillan ready for development.









Sources: ‘Cincinnati Fire History’, by Christine Mersch and Lisa Mueller (2009); ‘A Guide to Cincinnati’s Historic Firehouses’, by The Cincinnati Fire Museum and Charles E. Brooks (2003); (2013)

Firehouse Stabilization Complete

The structural stabilization of the historic Fire Company 16 building at 773 E. McMillan Street (map) is complete! Matt Max of Max Construction Group turned the building back over to the City of Cincinnati on Friday, Nov. 16th, and it now sits as a structurally sound blank canvas, waiting for further development. Built in 1870, this firehouse is the oldest still standing in Cincinnati, and stabilization was funded through a City TIF allocation. Stabilization work included a new roof, new flooring and floor joists on the south side of the 2nd floor, interior and exterior masonry repairs, clean-out and gutting of the first floor space, removal of debris from the basement, and clearing of brush and trash from the adjacent vacant lot. The floor-to-ceiling height of the 1st floor is 15′, and the second floor is 10′. Total usable square footage is roughly 3,100 sf.

The building next to the Firehouse, a historic brownstone, is also slated for structural stabilization, with work expected to begin in early 2013. We are now in the process of soliciting qualified developers with creative ideas for the reuse and redevelopment of the Firehouse, Brownstone, and adjacent vacant parcels on both the north and south sides of E. McMillan St. If you are a developer and would like more information about the assembled site, please email us at