CLOSE

15 Amazing Firehouses You Can Visit

On top of being absolutely indispensable, firehouses can also serve as historic landmarks, architectural wonders, and prime tourist magnets. Here are fifteen that deserve a place on your travel bucket list.

1. THE DISNEYLAND FIRE HOUSE // ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA

Walt Disney himself used to stay in an apartment complex that was built above this station. Across the country in Florida, Disney World’s on-site fire department uses the company number 71 as a nod to the year in which that park opened.

2. “THE CAVE” // LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY

Officially known as “Lexington Station No. 16,” this odd establishment looks like it was built into an existing hillside, Hobbit Hole-style. Instead, according to the city’s official website, the firehouse “is actually a concrete dome covered by earth. The design was selected for its energy efficiency and its ability to remain [at] a steady temperature even if power is lost.” During the construction process, over 500 yards of concrete were used.

3. LIBERTY FIRE COMPANY, NO. 5 // READING, PENNSYLVANIA

Finished in 1876, the station was converted into the Reading Area Firefighters Museum in 2010. Inside, visitors can see artifacts like an 1880s trumpet through which firemen would shout orders at civilians. And firefighting paraphernalia isn’t all that’s on display—the museum also boasts an ostrich egg that was once owned by Susan B. Anthony. In 1985, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

4. BERLIN FIRE AND POLICE HEADQUARTERS // BERLIN, GERMANY

Back in 2004, Germany's capital city gave this facility a vibrant extension. The new segment sits encased in a luminous glass shell coated with red and green plates. These colors weren’t chosen at random: red represents the fire brigade, while green honors the police department.

5. GOTHLAND FIRE STATION // YORKSHIRE, UK

Here’s one for the record books. Gothland fire station is the world’s smallest, with just fifteen feet by twenty feet of garage space at its disposal. As you may have guessed, the place only has room for one truck.

6. FIRE STATION 23 // LOS ANGELES

You can’t throw a rock in the City of Angels without hitting something that’s appeared in at least one movie. This firehouse has been seen in dozens, including Police Academy 2, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Mask. Most famously, the location was used in both Ghostbusters films, providing interior shots for the team’s headquarters.

7. EXCUBITORIUM DELLA VII COORTE DE VIGILI // ROME, ITALY

Thirty feet beneath Rome’s Trastevere district lie the remains of a 2nd century fire brigade—though you’ll need to peek through a grate to look at it. On its walls, ancient graffiti has been found. One such scribbling—evidently left by an unhappy camper—reads (in Latin), “I’m tired, bring in my replacement.”

8. FIREHOUSE NO. 1 // NEVADA CITY, CALIFORNIA

Who’s up for a little slice of history? When this modestly sized station was finished, horse-drawn fire vehicles were still the norm. Completed in 1861, the building remained in use until 1938. Today, it’s a museum which also happens to be one of the former mining town’s most frequently-photographed structures.

9. HOOK AND LADDER 8 // NEW YORK CITY

Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0 

We’ve already talked about Ghostbusters and where the interior shots of the company headquarters were filmed, but what about the exterior shots? Constructed in 1903, the complex now known as “Hook and Ladder 8” sits on the corner of Varick and Moore Streets, and is instantly recognizable to movie fans. Next year, LEGO will be honoring Ghostbusters with a new set based on the building.

10. FIRE MARGREID // SOUTH TYROL, ITALY

Land is at a premium in this agriculturally rich region of Italy. So, when setting up a base for the local volunteer fire department, architects found an offbeat way to avoid wasting prime acreage. Carved into the side of a mountain, the building features three main caverns that are joined via crosscut.

11. CENTRAL FIRE STATION // LVIV, UKRAINE

The Catholic Church recognizes St. Florian as the patron saint of firefighters. Appropriately, his likeness can be seen in the form of a gorgeous statue above the doorway on Lviv’s magnificent Central Fire Station (which was heavily inspired by Roman architecture).

12. FIRE STATION HOUTEN // HOUTEN, THE NETHERLANDS

One doesn’t see a partially transparent fire station every day. Resembling an enormous greenhouse, the structure includes a huge wall that’s covered with paintings made by local children from 22 nearby schools (it was hoped that this would help discourage vandalism). Six fire engines can sit inside.

13. PARQUE DE BOMBAS DE PONCE // PONCE, PUERTO RICO

One of Puerto Rico’s iconic landmarks, this wooden, red-and-black establishment is currently a museum dedicated to Ponce firefighters past and present. A blend of Gothic and Moorish architecture, it started off as a trade fair pavilion that was converted into the city’s designated firehouse in 1885.

14. CREEDE FIRE STATION // CREEDE, COLORADO

A mining company lent Creede’s volunteer fire department the necessary explosives to build their current headquarters … underground. Similar to the aforementioned Fire Margreid, this station consists of various tunnels that lie beneath a local mountain, with just about every truck getting its own private burrow. “It’s a great example of what good people can do when they put their hearts and minds to it,” says Chief Robert Hosselkus.

15. EUSTIS ST. FIREHOUSE // BOSTON

Boston’s oldest remaining firehouse was built in 1859 and designed by architect John R. Hall, who also helped restore the Massachusetts State House dome that same year. After the resident fire brigade left it in 1916, the facility was—at one point—used as a post for Spanish-American War veterans. It’s since been leased out to Historic Boston, Inc. and is now a must-see for tourists and locals alike.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Netflix/Facebook
arrow
entertainment
8 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 3
Netflix/Facebook
Netflix/Facebook

[Warning: There are lots of Stranger Things season two spoilers ahead.]

Stranger Things season two is in the books, and like we all hoped, it turned out to be a worthy follow-up to an addictive debut season. Now, though, we’re left with plenty of questions, mysteries, and theories to chew on as the wait for a third season begins. But for everything we don’t know about what the next year of Stranger Things will bring us (such as an actual release date), there are more than enough things we do know to keep those fan theories coming well into 2018. While the show hasn't been officially greenlit for a third season by Netflix yet, new details have already begun to trickle out. Here’s everything we know about Stranger Things season three so far.

1. THERE WILL BE ANOTHER TIME JUMP.

The third season of Stranger Things won’t pick up right where the second one left off. Like the show experienced between the first two seasons, there will be a time jump between seasons two and three as well. The reason is simple: the child actors are all growing up, and instead of having the kids look noticeably older without explanation for year three, the Duffer Brothers told The Hollywood Reporter:

“Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They're going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can't start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. But what I like is that it makes you evolve the show. It forces the show to evolve and change, because the kids are changing.”

2. THE IDEA IS TO BE SMALLER IN SCALE.

If the series’s second season was about expanding the Stranger Things mythology, the third season won't go bigger just for the sake of it, with the brothers even going so far as to say that it will be a more intimate story.

“It’s not necessarily going to be bigger in scale,” Matt Duffer said in an interview with IndieWire. “What I am really excited about is giving these characters an interesting journey to go on.”

Ross Duffer did stress, though, that as of early November, season three is basically “… Matt and me working with some writers and figuring out where it’s going to go.”

3. THE MIND FLAYER WILL BE BACK.

The second season ended on a bit of a foreboding note when it was revealed that the Mind Flayer was still in the Upside Down and was seen looming over the Hawkins school as the winter dance was going on. Though we know there will be a time jump at the start of next season, it’s clear that the monster will still have a big presence on the show.

Executive producer Dan Cohen told TV Guide: "There were other ways we could have ended beyond that, but I think that was a very strong, lyrical ending, and it really lets us decide to focus where we ultimately are going to want to go as we dive into Season 3."

What does the Mind Flayer’s presence mean for the new crop of episodes? Well, there will be plenty of fan theories to ponder between now and the season three premiere (whenever that may be).

4. PLENTY OF LEFTOVER SEASON TWO STORYLINES WILL BE IN SEASON THREE.

The Duffer Brothers had a lot of material for the latest season of the show—probably a bit too much. Talking to Vulture, Matt Duffer detailed a few details and plot points that had to be pushed to season three:

"Billy was supposed to have a bigger role. We ended up having so many characters it ended up, in a way, more teed up for season three than anything. There was a whole teen supernatural story line that just got booted because it was just too cluttered, you know? A lot of that’s just getting kicked into season three."

The good news is that he also told the site that this wealth of cut material could make the writing process for the third season much quicker.

5. THERE WILL BE MORE ERICA.

Stranger Things already had a roster of fan-favorite characters heading into season two, but newcomer Erica, Lucas’s little sister, may have overshadowed them all. Played by 11-year-old Priah Ferguson, Erica is equal parts expressive, snarky, and charismatic. And the Duffer Brothers couldn’t agree more, saying that there will be much more Erica next season.

“There will definitely be more Erica in Season 3,” Ross Duffer told Yahoo!. “That is the fun thing about the show—you discover stuff as you’re filming. We were able to integrate more of her in, but not as much you want because the story [was] already going. ‘We got to use more Erica’—that was one of the first things we said in the writers’ room.”

“I thought she’s very GIF-able, if that’s a word,” Matt Duffer added. “She was great.”

6. EXPECT KALI TO RETURN.

The season two episode “The Lost Sister” was a bit of an outlier for the series. It’s a standalone episode that focuses solely on the character Eleven, leaving the central plot and main cast of Hawkins behind. As well-received as Stranger Things season two was, this episode was a near-unanimous miss among fans and critics.

The episode did, however, introduce us to the character of Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), who has the ability to manipulate people’s minds with illusions she creates. Despite the reaction, the Duffers felt the episode was vital to Eleven’s development, and that Kali won’t be forgotten moving forward.

“It feels weird to me that we wouldn’t solve [Kali’s] storyline. I would say chances are very high she comes back,” Matt Duffer said at the Vulture Festival.

7. OTHER "NUMBERS" MIGHT SHOW UP.

We're already well acquainted with Eleven, and season two introduced us to Eight (a.k.a. Kali), and executive producer Shawn Levy heavily hinted to E! that there are probably more Hawkins Laboratory experiments on the horizon.

"I think we've clearly implied there are other numbers, and I can't imagine that the world will only ever know Eleven and Eight," Levy said.

8. THERE MIGHT NOT BE MANY SEASONS LEFT.

Don’t be in too much of a rush to find out everything about the next season of Stranger Things; there might not be many more left. The Duffer Brothers have said in the past that the plan is to do four seasons and end it. However, Levy gave fans a glimmer of hope that things may go on a little while longer—just by a bit, though.

“Hearts were heard breaking in Netflix headquarters when the Brothers made four seasons sound like an official end, and I was suddenly getting phone calls from our actors’ agents,” Levy told Entertainment Weekly. “The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth. Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely.”

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Lists
20 Random Facts About Shopping
iStock
iStock

Shopping on Black Friday—or, really, any time during the holiday season—is a good news/bad news kind of endeavor. The good news? The deals are killer! The bad news? So are the lines. If you find yourself standing behind 200 other people who braved the crowds and sacrificed sleep in order to hit the stores early today, here's one way to pass the time: check out these fascinating facts about shopping through the ages.

1. The oldest customer service complaint was written on a clay cuneiform tablet in Mesopotamia 4000 years ago. (In it, a customer named Nanni complains that he was sold inferior copper ingots.)

2. Before battles, some Roman gladiators read product endorsements. The makers of the film Gladiator planned to show this, but they nixed the idea out of fear that audiences wouldn’t believe it.

3. Like casinos, shopping malls are intentionally designed to make people lose track of time, removing clocks and windows to prevent views of the outside world. This kind of “scripted disorientation” has a name: It’s called the Gruen Transfer.

4. According to a study in Social Influence, people who shopped at or stood near luxury stores were less likely to help people in need.

5. A shopper who first purchases something on his or her shopping list is more likely to buy unrelated items later as a kind of reward.

6. On the Pacific island of Vanuatu, some villages still use pigs and seashells as currency. In fact, the indigenous bank there uses a unit of currency called the Livatu. Its value is equivalent to a boar’s tusk. 

7. Sears used to sell build-your-own homes in its mail order catalogs.

8. The first shopping catalog appeared way back in the 1400s, when an Italian publisher named Aldus Manutius compiled a handprinted catalog of the books that he produced for sale and passed it out at town fairs.

9. The first product ever sold by mail order? Welsh flannel.

10. The first shopping cart was a folding chair with a basket on the seat and wheels on the legs.

11. In the late 1800s in Corinne, Utah, you could buy legal divorce papers from a vending machine for $2.50.

12. Some of the oldest known writing in the world includes a 5000-year-old receipt inscribed on a clay tablet. (It was for clothing that was sent by boat from Ancient Mesopotamia to Dilmun, or current day Bahrain.)

13. Beginning in 112 CE, Emperor Trajan began construction on the largest of Rome's imperial forums, which housed a variety of shops and services and two libraries. Today, Trajan’s Market is regarded as the oldest shopping mall in the world.

14. The Chinese invented paper money. For a time, there was a warning written right on the currency that all counterfeiters would be decapitated.

15. Halle Berry was named after Cleveland, Ohio's Halle Building, which was home to the Halle Brothers department store.

16. At Boston University, students can sign up for a class on the history of shopping. (Technically, it’s called “The Modern American Consumer”)

17. Barbra Streisand had a mini-mall installed in her basement. “Instead of just storing my things in the basement, I can make a street of shops and display them,” she told Harper's Bazaar. (There are photos of it here.)

18. Shopping online is not necessarily greener. A 2016 study at the University of Delaware concluded that “home shopping has a greater impact on the transportation sector than the public might suspect.”

19. Don’t want to waste too much money shopping? Go to the mall in high heels. A 2013 Brigham Young University study discovered that shoppers in high heels made more balanced buying decisions while balancing in pumps.

20. Cyber Monday is not the biggest day for online shopping. The title belongs to November 11, or Singles Day, a holiday in China that encourages singles to send themselves gifts. According to Fortune, this year's event smashed all previous records with more than $38 million in sales.

A heaping handful of these facts came from John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, and James Harkin's delightful book, 1,234 Quite Interesting Facts to Leave You Speechless.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios