Fire Station 19

You can read about the history and designation of the Fire Station 19 historic landmark.







Address: 2001 University Avenue S.E.

Neighborhood: Prospect Park

Construction Date: 1893

Architect: Unknown Minneapolis Building Inspector

Architectural Style: Utilitarian

Historic Use: Public - Fire Station

Current Use: Commercial - Offices

Date of Local Designation: 1982

Date of National Register Designation: N/A

Area(s) of Significance: Social History

Period of Significance: 1893-1906

Historic Profile: During the 1880s, Minneapolis experienced tremendous industrial growth. The city emerged from the decade as the leading milling, warehousing, and railroading center of the Upper Midwest. Although commercial expansion brought the city increased prosperity, it also quickly antiquated municipal public services, especially in the realm of fire protection. Residents and manufacturers living along the East Bank of the Mississippi River repeatedly requested a new station, especially after the devastating fire destroyed the University of Minnesota’s Old Main in 1892. A fire station constructed at the corner of Oak Street and University Avenue employed a typical utilitarian style while incorporating many design elements found in more elegant structures. A bell tower originally located on the southwest corner was removed several years after construction; however, the remainder of the exterior is essentially unchanged. One of the last Minneapolis firehouses to become fully motorized, Fire Station #19 used horse-drawn equipment as late as 1922. While the station is significant because of its contributions to fire protection, it is also famous as the birthplace of a major variant of American softball known as "kittenball." The inventor and organizer of kittenball was Louis Rober, a lieutenant at Fire Station #19 from 1896 to 1906. During this period, Rober adapted the rules of baseball to create a sport requiring less space, time, and equipment than the traditional ball game. Fire Station #19 operated until 1983 and since has been converted into offices.

Photo Credits:

1985, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

2006, Minneapolis CPED

Works Cited:

"National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Form," July 1976.


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Public Service Center
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415