Engine House #6
416, Gay St., N., Baltimore, Baltimore City
This 2-story brick building has a 103-foot tower at the apex of its truncated triangular shape. A projecting string course separates the building’s first and second floors and each of the five stages of the tower. The main door at the base of the tower is within a pointed stone arch and the spandrel contains a quatrefoil with the number 6 in the center. The first story was altered in 1874 by applying a stone façade. The tower gives a feeling of openness because of the repetition of Gothic-arched windows piercing it. Projecting stringcourses separate each of the five stories and effectively break the verticality. At the top, there is a three-faced clock and a wooden cornice supporting an elaborately carved balustrade. The remainder of the building is 2 stories high with 7 bays on each street side and a simple wooden cornice. There is also a projecting stringcourse between the floors, repeating the motif of the tower courses.
This engine house predates the Baltimore fire department by four years and was the third building used by the Independent Fire Company volunteer firefighter to house their equipment. It is an architectural landmark in its neighborhood, as its tower and clock are visible for miles. The Engine House was built in 1853-54 by the architects Reasin and Wetherald. Its 103-foot brick Italian-Gothic tower is said to be a copy of Giotto’s campanile in Florence, Italy. Engine House #6 is also significant for the period of time which it represents. It was built during the period when volunteer fire companies reached the peak of their rivalries and gave Baltimore its notorious name, "Mobtown."