Ladder Company 4 was organized here on January 6, 1868, the date the Town of Roxbury was annexed to the City of Boston. Ladder 4 had been Washington Hook & Ladder 1 of the Roxbury Fire Department.
The firehouse had been used as a firehouse, prior to 1868, by the Roxbury Fire Department. Torrent Engine 6 of the Roxbury Fire Department had been quartered here. A photo above shows the company with its Hunneman hand engine.
The building was built in 1859 and was designed by Roxbury architect John Roulestone Hall. It was built at a cost of $2,777.40. It is a 2 1/2 -story brick building constructed in the Italianate style. It replaced a smaller 2 story wood Greek Revival firehouse built in 1829. In 1869, a rear addition made of wood was constructed to house ‘hook and ladder’ equipment and a stable.
Ladder 4 stayed until May, 1874, when a new firehouse was built for the company at 407 Dudley Street. On December 27, 1878, Ladder 4 moved back to 20 Eustis Street and stayed until October 30, 1880. On that date, Ladder 4 moved to 198 Dudley Street. The firehouse remained vacant for nine years.
Chemical Engine Company 10 was organized here on September 16, 1889. It was temporarily disbanded on January 17, 1916, when Ladder 4 moved in from 198 Dudley St., during renovations to accommodate motor apparatus. On October 2, 1916, Ladder 4 moved back quarters at 198 Dudley St. Chemical 10 was reorganized at 198 Dudley St. on that date. The firehouse at 20 Eustis St. was closed and never used again as a Boston firehouse.
On January 8, 1917, the Boston City Council voted to turn the building over to the Building Department, for lease to the Spanish-American War Veterans as a local headquarters. City Council Report. In the 1930’s, the building was the Roger Wolcott Camp, No. 23, United Spanish War Veterans (USWV). A photo taken in circa 1976 shows the sign ‘United Spanish War Veterans’ mounted over the front door. It is unknown when the USWV ceased using the building.
This building is the oldest firehouse in Boston still standing. Little was done to the building in the years since the Fire Department ceased operations within. The photos at lower left and lower right show the condition of the building in 1998 and 2008.
On May 15, 2010, the non-profit preservation group Historic Boston, Inc. (HBI) held a public ceremony to announce the start of a rehabilitation project on the Eustis Street Firehouse.
On Wednesday, October 5, 2011, a Ribbon Cutting and Open House event was held to celebrate the completion of the firehouse restoration project. HBI now has its headquarters on the second floor of the building. Event Flyer from 10/5/2011.
To see more about the completion and dedication ceremonies for this project, use this Link: Dedication