New Braunfels 1918 Fire Station

In February 1871, Rudolph Wipprecht of the New Braunfels Turnverein (Gymnastic Society) proposed a resolution to organize a fire brigade. Fighting fires remained difficult, however, until June of 1886 with the establishment of water mains, twenty hydrants and a city volunteer fire department. Once the city acquired a fire engine in 1913, attention turned to constructing a fire station. On September 11, 1917, voters passed a bond to erect a new building.

The city chose this site from land donated by Ernest and Jesse Sippel. San Antonio architect Leo M.J. Dielmann drew up the plans and the city awarded the building contract to A.F. Moeller of New Braunfels, with construction completed on May 15, 1918. In addition to having a large area on the ground floor, the new station contained an office for the city marshal, a consultation room, locker room, restroom and an office for the water works superintendent. The second floor included a large hall suitable for training and allowed space for firefighters to stay overnight.

This building served as Fire Station No. 1 until April of 1987 when a new station was built next door. TheĀ idea of converting the 1918 station into a museum came from the battalion chief, and the museum had its grand opening in 1995, on the 150th anniversary of the founding of New Braunfels. The 1918 fire station represents the first major step in modernizing firefighting in New Braunfels. Now a museum, the building serves as a means to show the department’s history and evolution. It also serves as a tribute to those who protect their fellow citizens from fires and other dangers as well as those who lost their lives in the line of duty.