Dec 1, 2016
The San Francisco Fire Department has been in the Presidio for over 150 years. Let’s take a look back at the history of our very own Presidio firefighters and Presidio Fire Station 51, starting with the soldiers who fought the fire at Brigadier General John J. Pershing’s house in 1915.
Not only does the Presidio’s firefighting history go way back, but so does the park’s own fire house. In 1917, two years after the Pershing fire, the fire house building was constructed in the Presidio using wood from the Panama Pacific International Exposition race-track grandstand. Though the fire department is now staffed by firefighters provided by the San Francisco Fire Department, the fire house still remains in the Trust’s inventory of buildings and part of the rich history of our Presidio firefighters.
Each year during the holiday season, San Francisco fire stations throughout the City provide an on-site toy donation drop in support of needy families.
Then – 1915: This horse drawn fire wagon responded to the fire at Brigadier General John J. Pershing’s house, pictured here, on August 27, 1915.
Then – 1933: The Presidio Fire Department’s spiffy fire engine out in front of the fire station – a big upgrade from the horse drawn fire wagon.
Then – 1951: Proof that the Presidio fire house went all out for the holidays. Here they show their spirit with strings of lights and a giant light-up “greetings” sign.
Then – 1954: The fire department repaired toys collected by Boy Scouts and gave them out to underprivileged children during the holiday season. Fire Chief George Geller is pictured here with Boy Scouts.
Then – 1956: Boy and Girl Scouts participated in Fire Prevention Week in the Presidio – they even got to climb on the fire truck.
Then – 1963: At Fire Prevention Week in 1963, Letterman General Hospital nurses took a turn at putting out a demonstration fire.
Now: The Presidio’s fire house building is one of the most unique buildings in the park. Two years after the fire at the Pershing house, the building was constructed using wood from the Panama Pacific International Exposition race track grandstand.
Pictured in 2016 in front of the same fire house that was built in 1917, Presidio firefighters continue to do an excellent job of keeping the fire trucks and the fire house in the holiday spirit while preserving the history and tradition of the Presidio Fire Department.