A volunteer firehouse, of the Douglaston Hose Company, that became an American Legion Post
Recognizing the need for fire protection, early 20th century residents of Douglaston organized a volunteer fire company, the Douglaston Hose Company, in 1903. Douglaston residents subscribed sufficient funds to purchase a hose carriage and construct a firehouse in 1906. It remained in use as a firehouse until 1929 when the volunteer company was disbanded and replaced by the New York City Fire Department. The American Legion purchased the building in 1948 and it continues in use as their meeting place to this day.
The building remains essentially architecturally intact from the time of its use as a firehouse. The bell tower above the roof remains. The front doors permitting access for the hose carriage have been removed and the opening enclosed.
In 21st century New York City, it is hard to imagine the social and often political roles that volunteer fire companies played in a community, besides providing the important community service of fire fighting. The companies were a significant part of a community's social fabric, engaging residents from different strata of local society, thereby encouraging community cohesiveness. Many prominent residents served the Douglaston Hose Company. For several years its president was Denis O'Leary, Esq., who was also at times a U.S. congressman, Queens County district attorney, and New York City assistant corporation counsel and public works commissioner. The local newspapers reported on parades and social events sponsored by the company often in association with neighboring fire companies.
Douglaston is fortunate in having an intact example of what is one of the few remaining volunteer fire department buildings in the city.