Looking Back: Belmont Fire Company No. 4

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, August 18, 2021

By Nancy Bell | Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation

This frame firehouse was built by J. Stuart Shaw for $360 on the north side of Belmont Street, to the west of Martin’s at Midtown, before Monroe Street extended to Belmont.

An article in the Vicksburg Herald in March 1891 reported that “The city has decided to erect its South Vicksburg engine house on the north side of Belmont Street instead of the south, as strenuous objections were made to the latter location while the former is understood to be perfectly acceptable to all.

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“The portion of Monroe Street which it will occupy is not likely to be opened, at any time, as it is very near the A and V railroad cut.”

The street was, however, graded after 1902 with a section finished between the railroad and Belmont Street by 1907, leaving the firehouse to hang over into the street. In 1902, the building housed one paid man, a horse and one hose reel with 550 feet of 2.5-inch hose. By 1907, there were two paid men, Captain Morgan Roberts and fireman Louis Podesta, and 650 feet of hose.

One of the only articles to mention the station was from The Vicksburg Evening Post on July 8, 1908, that reported that “Joe Herold, the shortstop on the Vicksburg ball team lost his head in a game that was new to him. The boys at the Belmont firehouse induced him to hold a badger at a dog and badger fight. He was easy, and before he realized that a joke had been put up on him, he was in the midst of more trouble than he ever dreamed there could be in the world.  The moment Morgan’s big bulldog saw the badger Joe held, business picked up and he found himself fighting both the dog and badger, but finally escaped through a window.”

The firehouse was demolished in September 1915 and the men who had been stationed there were temporarily transferred to other houses, pending the erection of the “handsome new central station which is to be built.”