In hopes of attracting buyers to his new neighborhood, developer Arthur E. Randle (1859-1929) donated the land upon which to build a firehouse after successfully lobbying Congress to appropriate the funds for its construction. Designed by architectural firm, Averill and Adams, Engine Company No. 19 is in the French Revival style. Originally built in 1910 to house Chemical Company No. 2, this firehouse served the Randle Heights community which lay outside the municipal water service, making the neighborhood inaccessible to fire hydrants. By 1921, Engine Company No. 19 formed to protect the community.
Engine Company No. 19’s prominent tower had dual purpose: drying hoses and observation of the surrounding area. The city's fire alarm call box system achieved a level of sophistication that rendered most observation towers obsolete. However, in the case of Engine Company No. 19, the observation tower's use likely continued to serve as a look out; the call box system had not been extended throughout the suburban areas of DC so the low building heights in the neighborhood made an observation tower more effective for spotting fires. Today, the picturesque Engine Company No. 19 remains a staple of the Randle Heights community.
DC Inventory: July 23, 2009