The Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati is located downtown at 315 West Court St. I’d wanted to visit since we moved to Cincinnati 8 years ago, and a recent birthday party for my favorite 4-year old proved to be the perfect opportunity.
In 1853, the first paid, professional fire department in the US was created in Cincinnati. The building that now houses this museum was built in 1906 for Engine Company #45. It was designed by Harry Hake, a prominent local architect also responsible for the Cincinnati and Suburban Telephone Company Building [one of my favorite buildings in Cincinnati].
As you might imagine, the museum collection traces the history of the profession with an emphasis on technological innovation. For me, the highlights are hand-lettering and other bits of design. Above and below are just some of the patches from fire departments from across the US and beyond, found in several large display cases in the basement.
Holy hand-lettering, Batman!
And lots and lots of fire trucks. Side note: why do kids love fire trucks so much?
I’ve been trying to find more of these esoteric museums wherever I go: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum also features amazing hand-lettering and typography. The Houdini Museum and the Noguchi Museum, both in NYC, are worth checking out and, for entirely different reasons, so is the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY.