The West End Hose Museum is housed in a historic 1937 firehouse. It was built during the Great Depression by Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers and completed in June 1938. The WPA built three others, but this is the only one still in existence.
After time the building was abandoned, it became a storehouse for the Biloxi Police Department. One day the Chief asked Boney and Larry Smith to clean it out. They hated seeing history destroyed and began collecting Fire History.
In 1999 The City of Biloxi opened a Fire Museum in the Danzler House on Hwy 90. (Note: The Danzler House was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.)
The City wasn’t willing to do the renovation of the old Firehouse so Boney, Smith, and other firefighters did the work. The Museum had an $80,000 restoration that included repairing a storm-damaged roof and pumper hall doors as well as interior repairs to the ceilings, walls, and floors. One wall is wood wainscoting from the original old fire station that was originally built in 1909. The floor came out of the old Lopez School when it was torn down. The brick on the front arch is from the Gorenflo School.
The Museum is open for guests. Two fire trucks are parked in the main firehouse including a 1932 Ford pumper. The exhibits feature many historic photographs as well as antique fire equipment that document the history of the Biloxi Fire Department, which dates back more than 120 years. One room is dedicated to the annual Biloxi Firemen’s Parade and the winners of the Miss Flame contest. The favorite exhibit is the engraved silver speaking trumpet presented to Phil McCabe and routinely used at fires like a megaphone. It was handed down to every Chief until the 30’s or 40’s. When the fire department got radios, it was no longer needed. The Museum owns log books which record every fire that the fire department responded to between 1909 through the early 1990’s when computers replaced handwritten logs.
The Museum is operated by volunteers under the direction of a Board of Directors with the assistance of the City of Biloxi museum’s office.
Fun Facts: Biloxi was protected by volunteer firefighters from 1883 until 1952. The Chief was called the Chief Engineer and was paid. There were 4 fire houses: East End, West End, Back Bay, and Mississippi Hook & Ladder.
Address: 1046 Howard Avenue
Hours of operation: 9 am- 3 pm Saturdays, or by appointment.
Accessibility: wheelchair accessible; accessible bathroom.