The firehouse, located at the southeast corner of South Fifth and Laurel Streets in the Callowhill Historic District, is one of the most important architectural and historic landmarks in the City of Reading and Berks County. The site has functioned as a fire company’s headquarters since 1854, on the same site but in a building demolished in 1875 for the construction of the present facility. In 2010, the city vacated the structure, moving it’s sole engine company to a new quarters in the 18th ward. The station was sold to the city to be operated as a fire museum.
The unusual combination of utilitarian purpose and architectural quality of the structure and its intact original character makes it one of the best preserved historical landmarks in the city and county. Numerous tours have been conducted through the building and without exception of the tour participants, whatever their age, background or experience, has been genuine surprise mixed with respect and appreciation for the elegance and beauty of the rooms.
A committee has been formed to restore and preserve the station, and has already begun restoration efforts. The official incorporated group is known as the Reading Area Firefighters Museum, Inc. It is a Non Profit Pennsylvania 501(C)(3) Corporation.