History InSite: 270 St. Paul Street, S1937.282.8

Workers remove patriotic decorations from the Central Fire Hall after the parade celebrating the coronation of King George VI in 1937.| STCM S1937.28.2.8

When the Central Fire Hall was built in 1867, the all-volunteer fire brigade had horse-drawn, hook and ladder trucks, and water wagons. By 1917, the City had acquired a modern, motorized fire truck, two steam-powered water pumpers and had a crew of four professional firemen. The fire hall neighboured the Griffin Opera House, before it was reopened as the Palace Theatre. The fire hall was demolished in 1950.

The Fire Horses are pictured inside the Central Fire Hall, c. 1900. STCM 1975.15.20

Inside the Fire House

A major change in the look and usage of interior spaces came with the introduction of central heating, firstly hot water and steam radiator systems and later forced air systems.

The usage of interior spaces changed considerably once rooms no longer required spaces for fireplaces and heating stoves. Cast iron radiators became very popular around the turn of the 20th Century and were found in most buildings. Later these heavy pieces of interior furniture were replaced with modern and more efficient forced air heating units.

This photo, possibly of the Neptune Fire Hall, formerly on St. Paul Street, shows cast iron radiators which were a common sight in buildings prior to today’s high efficiency heating and air conditioning units.

There’s More to the Story

Check out the entire History InSite installation and find the other panels.

About History InSite

A permanent, site specific installation, History InSite juxtaposes historical photographs with modern streetscapes by presenting the photo in, or close to, the place which it was taken.

St. Catharines has a rich photographic history and when compared to the changing streetscapes around the City, that history becomes much more meaningful, poignant, and relevant to our modern eyes.

History InSite is presented by the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre.

Graffiti Report

If you spot any graffiti on our purple History InSite signs, please send us a message and photo via email museum@stcatharines.ca.