The Lakewood and Mountair communities created their first volunteer fire district in 1937, thirty-two years before the city of Lakewood was incorporated. The 1,800 homeowners living in the fire district believed that a firefighting organization and up-to-date equipment were necessary to safeguard their businesses and houses. The average cost per property owner was quoted at approximately $16 per year. Despite living in a state still recovering from the Great Depression, and a nation about to enter World War II, public-spirited citizens donated building sites, funds, and their volunteer hours to create a very effective fire department.
Station No. 1 began construction at 6885 W Colfax Avenue in 1937 using volunteer labor and $4,608.00 purchased a 500 gallon pumper fire truck, later known as “Booger Red”. In 1941, the Lakewood-Mountair Fire Department went on forty-eight calls and prevented almost $60,000 worth of damage. Just one year later, these numbers had jumped to eighty-six calls and $173,000 worth of prevented losses. Within a few years, more stations were built and more equipment bought, making Lakewood Fire Department the largest fire protection district in Colorado in the 1950s-1960s. Eventually, full-time paid firefighters, dispatchers, and maintenance workers were added to supplement the completely volunteer-run department. This volunteer and paid team not only preserved the buildings and lives in their districts, they also celebrated local community pride through sponsoring first aid courses, hose competitions, and celebrations such as the Firemen’s Ball.
Local firefighters, in partnership with the City of Lakewood, have envisioned a representation of the Lakewood-Mountair Station #1 at the Lakewood Heritage Center Museum. This structure will be a two-story, 2900 square foot building, built in the likeness of Lakewood’s first firehouse which is still located, although no longer used in fire suppression activities, on the 6900 block of West Colfax Avenue. The LHC will interpret the structure as a late 1940’s fire station. The museum’s master plan identifies the firehouse as one of the structures selected for placement in the Colfax Hub area, an area within the museum planned to interpret commercial growth in Lakewood as Lakewood transitions from an agrarian to commercial economy during the 20th century.
Please contact Betsy Bowers at the Lakewood Heritage Center at BetBow@Lakewood.org.