Arthur Hardy Fire Station
Backstory and Context
At the young age of three, Arthur Hardy's life changed as he witnessed the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 from the roof of his grandmothers house. At that moment, relatives indicate, Hardy became fascinated with fire fighting. As a young boy he would chase fire engines, which at that time had smoke stacks on top of them. The local firemen nicknamed him "Smokestack" and the nickname stuck. Hardy's dream of becoming a city firefighter was delayed until 1942, when the city hired and trained its first class of African American volunteer firefighters to augment stations owing to the decline of available manpower.
Hardy and other residents served in unpaid positions until 1952. Between 1949 and 1952, Hardy led a campaign of his fellow auxiliary firemen to create paid positions for African American firefighters, but in 1952 the mayor of Baltimore hired ten African American firemen. Throughout Hardy's 94 years of life, he collected fire memorabilia. After his passing in 1995, Guy Cephas, a colleague of Hardy's opened a small museum in his home, using Hardy's collection as the basis of his own growing collection.
Arthur Hardy,Goodreads. Accessed 8/7/17. https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/3088828-arthur-smokestack-hardy-fire-museum.
Arthur "Smokestack". 21pw. Accessed 8/7/17. https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/3088828-arthur-smokestack-hardy-fire-museum