Community support helps Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society achieve goal of establishing new museum and memorial.
By Margaret Harder
n a tribute to firefighters who have protected Los Angelenos for 113 years, including the 71 who have died in the line of duty, the Los Angeles Fire Department marked the official establishment of the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial in December 1999.
Through city and private support for the museum and monument, the official groundbreaking ceremony was a milestone for the city’s Fire Department Historical Society.
Among the private and non-profit groups to support the museum is Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International, which hosted a fundraiser for the LAFD Historical Society with a festival in late 1999. People of all ages and backgrounds came to ride the vintage Station 27 fire engine through the streets of Hollywood with sirens blaring. Others, perhaps less intrigued by history, enjoyed a variety of carnival attractions and games that covered the Church’s parking lot and down Bronson Avenue to the 101 Freeway overpass. Still others enjoyed non-stop live entertainment by local performers. Each helped to make the historic station’s renovation a reality.
“This represents what community involvement is all about,” said Battalion Chief John Jake Jacobsen, president of the LAFD Historical Society.
The Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial will bring a wealth of restored vintage fire apparatus, photographs, memorabilia and equipment used by the LAFD throughout its history to the fully restored landmark Station 27, as well as provide a location to honor those firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty.
Built in 1930, Station 27 at 1355 Cahuenga Boulevard was completed after occupancy began, emphasizing its need by a community regularly threatened by raging brush fires. Its construction was pricey at $101,627, and it was the largest fire station west of the Mississippi, with 28 firefighters on duty and 12 pieces of apparatus. Over the years, the station has served as a backdrop in many Hollywood films.
The LAFD Historical Society set out to fully restore the station, which was severely damaged in the Northridge earthquake, in keeping with its goal to share the rich traditions of the fire service with people of all ages and backgrounds and to further their commitment to educating children by creating a valuable community resource and destination.
For information on the next Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society fundraising festival, call (323) 960-3110.