East Austin Fire Company No. 4
Year Created: 1886
Year Disbanded: Became Engine 5 of the paid department in 1916
Motto: Ever Brave and True
East Austin Fire Company No. 4 Photos
East Austin Fire Company Number 4 was chartered in February of 1886 when Austin was growing rapidly east of town. Up to this point every fire company was situated in the center of downtown, and many businesses and residences were sprouting up east of East Avenue (now Interstate 35).
Initially, a two-story brick hall was built on Lydia Street between 10th and 11th Street, and in the 1890s a new, larger two-story brick firehouse was built on the same location. It was customary for fire stations of this era to be built with an assembly hall on the second story where balls and galas were held.
In 1916, when the department renamed many of its fire stations, this location was briefly named Station 3, and then later permanently called Station Number 5. By the late 1920s, this building was in a dilapidated condition and a new, single-story "bungalow" style house was built, again on the same location. In 1969 this station was permanently retired when a new Station 5 was built at 1201 Webberville Road, where it remains today. Unfortunately, now there is no evidence that a fire station existed at East 10th and Lydia Street because the building was torn down shortly after the Webberville station opened.
The Lydia Street Fire Station was a historical fire station for the Austin Fire Department. In 1952 Austin hired its first African American firefighters and in November of that year Willie Ray Davis, Nathaniel Kindred, and Roy Greene were all placed at Fire Station 5. They were the first black firefighters hired under civil service law in Texas.
One of the Austin Fire Museum´s surviving relics from East Austin Number 4 is a leather fire helmet belonging to its foreman, which was then the name of the fire company´s chief officer, similar to a battalion chief of today.