Philly Block Project

Engine House #15

The long, industrial history of the Kensington neighborhood has predictably left behind a few structures that, while no longer in use, are curious yet familiar pieces of architecture within our community. One of those buildings is the triangular anomaly at 1625 Howard Street, boasting a tall smokestack that can be seen from Front Street and the Market-Frankford Line.

In 1870, Philadelphia’s city government created a professional municipal fire department after years of less-than-successful volunteer firefighting cartels. On March 15, 1871, the large, angular brick building at Howard Street and Cecil B. Moore (then Columbia) Avenue was designated the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Engine House #15.

The firehouse remained in service from 1871-1964, when Engine #15 eventually disbanded. The site is currently zoned for commercial and residential use.

engine-house-15 1896

Photos & history c/o