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Fire Engine House Number 1 is one of two surviving Dubuque fire engine houses that date from the last quarter of the 19th century. It is a well preserved example of the earlier design work of noted Dubuque architect Fridolin Heer, a self-taught architect whose work includes the Dubuque County Courthouse, Sacred Heart Church and School, and the Dubuque Brewing and Malting Company. The building is prominently located at the head of Central Avenue and symbolically played a secondary role as the gateway to the Fifth Ward.


Historically, this engine house played a continuing and central role (1884-1980) as one of Dubuque’s fire company buildings. It was the first fire engine house to house a paid fire company, and it was the first to headquarter the city’s fire department headquarters. The building shared its expanded parcel with the Fire Alarm Building (1922-c.1992), a facility that housed the city’s fire and police radio communication and alarm equipment (non-extant). The building also housed the city’s ambulance beginning at the end of 1941. The building was decommissioned as an Engine House in the early 1970s, and it was remodeled for the City of Dubuque’s Housing Department in the 1980s.


The 2013 rehabilitation project entailed a careful exterior restoration and detailed reconstruction of (Fire) Engine House No. 1. The first floor accommodates a new neighborhood Head Start pre-school facility to include a large classroom area, a full-surface kitchen, restrooms and utility spaces. The second floor accommodates a community wellness program for the Crescent Community Health Center.


Completion Date: 2013

Size: 5,000 SF

Location: Dubuque, IA

Type of Project: Commercial

Gronen Responsibility: Developer, Project Manager, Contractor

Total Development Cost: $2.2 million

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