Denver Fire Station #3
The current station #3 is located just across the street is the location of the previous station #3, which was open from 1893-1938.
African American firefighters post outside of station #3 circa 1940
In 1957, Robert Nickerson became the first African American firefighter assigned to a station beyond the all-Black station #3. He served the Denver Fire Department for 25 years.
Backstory and Context
This station was completed in 1931 and replaced a previous structure that still stands at 2563 Lincoln (Se Hose Company #3 listing). Although the creation of an all-Black company created opportunities for Black firefighters, these men faced limited prospects for advancement. In fact, the company was led by a white officer until 1897, when Silas Johnson was promoted to captain. The promotion was partly a response to a tragedy that had cost the life of the entire crew of Black firefighters who responded to the St. James Hotel fire in 1895.
Denver's African American firefighters continued to experience discrimination after the citywide integration of the force that saw Black firefighters stationed throughout the city. In the 1980s, a federal judge found conclusive evidence that showed that Black firefighters and medics were denied advancement opportunities. Today, the city's department better reflect the diversity of the city.
This firehouse is reportedly haunted. Many firefighters have noted the paranormal activity. This spurred a visit from ghost hunters.
"Firefighters tell stories of experiences in the Firehouse such as hearing sweeping noises in the hallway, feeling a presence of someone standing over them in the dorm at night, doors and cabinets swinging open, footsteps in the hallway and the bay, lights flickering and the Station’s paper shredder turning on by itself."
Denver's African American Firefighters. Denver Firefighters Museum. February 21, 2004. Accessed December 10, 2016. https://denverfirefightersmuseum.blogspot.com/2014/02/denvers-african-american-firefighters.html.
Migoya, David. "Denver’s first African-American firefighter in white station dies." Denver Post, September 10, 2016.
Lyons, Maggie. Doors Open Denver Preview: Denver Fire Department #3, Denver Urbanism. March 18th 2015. Accessed June 17th 2020. https://denverurbanism.com/2015/03/doors-open-denver-preview-denver-fire-department-station-3.html.