This firehouse was opened on November 15, 1950 when Engine Company 11 moved in temporarily, in advance of Engine Company 56 being organized. On May 2, 1951 Engine Company 56 was organized and on May 9, 1951, Engine 11 moved back to its permanent quarters at 761 Saratoga Street.
The firehouse is located at 1 Ashley Street, at the corner of Blackington Street, in the Orient Heights section of East Boston.
On July 1, 1961, Ladder Company 21 moved into this firehouse from its former firehouse at 761 Saratoga Street. , when that firehouse was closed.
The building was originally built with only one rounded door. It continued as a single door house after Ladder 21 moved in. Renovations to convert the building to a square single-door house were completed in 1982. Later, the single square door was converted to the present 2-door firehouse.
A cornerstone plaque is mounted on the exterior of the firehouse, listing the principals involved in the construction of the firehouse in 1950.
Engine 56 and Ladder 21 respond primarily to incidents in East Boston. Engine 56 and Ladder 21 each respond to approximately 1200 incidents per year.