Old Engine Company No. 6

Old Engine Company No. 6 responded to some of DC's most historic fires and reflects the professionalization of DC firefighters thereafter.

Old Engine Company No. 6 served as the first firehouse of the Metropolitan Hook and Ladder Company in Washington, DC. Built in 1862, the firehouse accommodated horses with heavy equipment. Old Engine Company No. 6 also responded to some of the city's earliest historic conflagrations, such as the Smithsonian Institution Castle (1865) and the U.S. Patent Office (1877). 

This firehouse reflects the professionalization of firefighters in DC. Since firehouses were private volunteer companies, local government hoped to quell rivalries between the forces. By an 1864 DC government act, the DC Fire Department consolidated stations to organize paid fire departments, transitioning from a volunteer force to a modern professional one. However, the DC Fire Department still had some volunteer staff.

Old Engine Company No. 6 occupied the building for 95 years before its decommission in 1974; until that point, it was the oldest operating firehouse in DC. In 2012, the location reopened as the Sixth Engine Restaurant. The owners sold the restaurant in 2019 to The Pub and The People; they plan to keep the menu and vibe similar to Sixth Engine, serving craft beer and gastropub fare.

DC Inventory: April 29, 1975
National Register: September 5, 1975



438 Massachusetts Avenue NW