For this week’s edition of Urban Spelunking, OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo visits Engine Company 3 in Walker’s Point.
The building was built in 1905 and was home to the neighborhood’s firefighting unit. Horses were the only mode of transportation — the “fire engines” of the time — and much of the building was used for tending to them.
Like most old firehouses, a large watch tower extended a few stories above the main building where firefighters worked in shifts to spot smoke rising above the neighborhood. Without electronics, it was the primary means of fire detection. The inside of the tower was hollow, too, doubling as an easy way to dry out wet hoses.
Today, the building has been transformed to a bustling restaurant — Engine Company 3 — under the ownership of Peter Sandroni, who also owns La Merenda a few blocks away. Many of the building’s original features have been restored, including a massive staircase made from 100-year-old wood.
Click the player above to hear our interview with Bobby, and follow this link to read his article in its entirety.
When President Obama visited Milwaukee on March 3, 2016, he stopped for lunch at Engine Company 3. With that in mind, we thought it was worth bringing back this story, originally published in September, 2015.