Engine House #21

At the corner of Baker Street and Ohio is Engine House #21, a great example of early adaptive reuse. Built in 1910 for horse-drawn equipment, it is a pleasing example of fire station design with a hose tower.

After its retirement from the fire service in 1943 it was used by the VFW and then, starting in 1950, as a clubhouse for the Saint Paul Turnverein. The Turnverein (known today as The Turners) began in the old country as an anti-Napoleonic movement.

Transplanted to America with the great German immigration, it served immigrants to preserve their German culture and language, and as a place for young people to develop physical vigor, especially before public schools instituted physical education programs.

Until the anti-German sentiment fomented by World War I, St. Paul had a very prominent public German culture, with newspapers (20 German-language papers are known to have been published in the city), the Germania Bank, cultural institutions like the Schubert Club, social clubs, and a statue of Schiller in Como Park.

The St. Paul Turnverein once had a fine clubhouse downtown and many participants. The Ohio Street club building is tiny compared to that one and the chapter is no longer active. Today the building is a private residence. On the way to or from, notice the 1883 rowhouse at 542-548; it awaits restoration. There is another rowhouse nearby at Winifred and Bellows, built in 1891.

Images

Ohio Street Rowhouse

Ohio Street Rowhouse

The 1883 rowhouse at 542-548 awaits restoration. Date: June, 2013 Photo by: Kimmy Tanaka View File Details Page

Saint Paul Turnverein

Saint Paul Turnverein

One of the few remaining institutions of German culture that flourished in Saint Paul from the 1850s until World War I. Photographer: Charles P. Gibson Date: 1922 Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society View File Details Page

Engine House No. 21

Engine House No. 21

Date: June, 2013 Photo by: Kimmy Tanaka View File Details Page

Engine House No. 21

Engine House No. 21

Date: June, 2013 Photo by: Kimmy Tanaka View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Paul Nelson, “Engine House #21,” Saint Paul Historical, accessed March 26, 2017, http://saintpaulhistorical.com/items/show/148.

Subjects

Tour navigation:  Previous | Tour Info | Next

Share this Story