Wayfinding: Friendship Firehouse

The Friendship Firehouse was built in 1855 for the Friendship Fire Company, established in 1774 as the first firefighting organization in Alexandria. It is now a museum, open to the public.

Page updated on Mar 28, 2018 at 3:58 PM

Friendship Firehouse

107 S. Alfred Street

06 Friendship Firehouse sign (click for larger image)In an 18th century town of mostly wooden buildings, where open flames provided heat, light and cooking on a daily basis, Alexandrians constantly faced the danger of fire. Water to fight fires had to be carried in buckets from nearby wells, town pumps, or creeks. Early fire apparatus allowed water to be hand-pumped and sprayed into a building or onto its roof, hopefully preventing it from spreading to the houses next door. However, the engines were not very powerful and had to be pulled by hand to the fire by hard-working volunteers. The Friendship Fire Company was established in 1774 as the first firefighting organization in Alexandria, and their equipment was stored at Market Square.

As Alexandria grew, other fire companies formed, and Friendship moved to a new firehouse on Alfred Street that survives today as the Friendship Firehouse Museum, one half block south. Volunteers of Friendship, Sun, Relief, Hydraulion and other local fire companies served the city faithfully for decades, particularly during enormous blazes in 1827, 1855, 1871, and 1922. Over time, as buildings grew taller, the old volunteer companies were replaced by a paid professional fire department.

The Friendship Firehouse was built in 1855 and substantially remodeled in 1871, when a huge steeple was replaced by a lower cupola, topped with a firefighter weathervane. In 1992, the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association gifted the building to the City of Alexandria, and it is now open to the public.

Where to Find This Sign

In Old Town, mini kiosks are located at designated intersections along King Street, Cameron Street, and the Waterfront to provide an orientation for pedestrians. 

This wayfinding sign is located on the south side of King Street at Alfred Street.  (For those taking the King Street Trolley, please check the schedule as times may have changed.)