The Fire Cart and Fire House

By: Kathy Koehler

The Fire Cart arrived in Niwot in 1910 from Buffalo, New York. The instructions of care for the Fire Cart stated that it could not be stored outside in the weather.  Town volunteers constructed the building that would shelter the Fire Cart.

The Fire Cart was honored as one of “Colorado’s 2017 Top Ten Most Significant Artifacts”. The two cast iron wheels measure 50 inches in diameter. This cart was a hand-pulled cart, not a horse-drawn unit. The chemical ingredients to fight a fire were mixed when needed: sodium bicarbonate, water, and sulfuric acid. It was listed as “Buffalo No. 21 Soda and Acid Chemical Fire Engine”.

The Fire House was originally located on the property just east of the Niwot State Bank building on Second Avenue. Years later, the building served as a laundry washroom for the Hotel Livingston staff, and then it was placed inside the Antique Emporium as the office for the auctioneer. In 1997 the Antique Emporium had a new owner and it underwent a major restorations project. Since the Fire Cart building needed to be removed, it was offered to the Niwot Historical Society. A group of volunteers dismantled the building into six parts and moved them to property on the west side of the Left Hand Grange No. 9. In 2018, the community donated funds for restoration work on the building. Aged boards were installed to replace some of the 100+ year old wood boards that had deteriorated, and lights were installed inside to feature artifact displays. A new information board was installed in the patio area, patio flagstones were updated, and the area expanded. The Fire Cart was relocated to be more prominent, two memorial benches were added for seating on the patio, and the Rotary Club of Niwot constructed and registered a “Little Free Library” that is in the image of the Fire House Museum.

The Niwot Historical Society collects Niwot historic items and registers them as artifacts in the archives. They share Niwot related history in displays in the Fire House Museum, host the Now&Then Lecture Series and research workshops, host open house at the Museum for guests, and participate in Niwot community events. The Fire House is landmarked by Boulder County and it is located in the Niwot Historic District.

Niwot Fire House Entrance – July 2018

Guests coming to Fire House Museum