Parque de Bombas
Parque de Bombas de Ponce
Old Parque de Bombas firehouse building
|Location||Plaza Las Delicias|
Ponce, Puerto Rico
|Area||less than one acre|
|Architect||Maximo de Meana y Guridi|
|Architectural style||Gothic Revival, Victorian, Moorish Revival church|
|NRHP reference #||84003150|
|Added to NRHP||12 July 1984|
The Parque de Bombas (English: firehouse) is a historic fire station in Ponce, Puerto Rico. It is one of Puerto Rico's most notable buildings, with some considering it "by far the most easily recognized landmark in the Island." It is located at the Plaza Las Delicias town square, directly behind Ponce Cathedral. It was Puerto Rico's first ever fire station, and was the city's central fire station until 1990. The building is now a museum. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on 12 July 1984.
The structure was built as the main exhibit pavilion for the 1882 Exhibition Trade Fair. The Madrid-based central government assigned the task of designing and constructing it to a Spanish Army officer, Lt. Colonel Maximo de Meana y Guridi  who was also a trained architect and later served as Mayor of the city.
The building was unveiled at the fair. After the fair concluded, the pavilion became a fire station. The first firefighters to work in the building were stationed on 2 February 1883. In 1885, its official name was changed to Estación de Bomberos de Ponce (Ponce Fire Station).
Due to its distinctive appearance and central location, the fire station became an icon of Ponce. The station was painted in the black and white color scheme that appears on the city's flag and coat of arms. The Ponce Municipal Band (formerly, the Fireman's Band), originally played weekly concerts from an open second floor stage attached to Parque de Bombas. The band continues to play every Sunday evening, though in different locations. In the 1960s, a new fire station was built nearby at the junction of Calle Mayor and Calle Cristina. This became the main fire station for the city, reducing Parque de Bombas to a secondary role.
After 108 years of service, Parque de Bombas was vacated by the Puerto Rico Firefighters Corps in 1990. It was converted into a museum of firefighting. The architect in charge of its restoration was Pablo Ojeda O'Neill. The newer fire station was taken over by the Instituto de Música Juan Morel Campos in 2008. Ponce's central fire station is now located 1km east of Parque de Bombas on Miguel Pou Boulevard.
The building is located in the city's central "Las Delicias Plaza" and it is attached to the Cathedral of Ponce at its rear boundary. The building is made of wood with a pitched roof covered with galvanized zinc sheets. The windows are long and narrow with louvers, and are crowned by an oversized fanlight.
Meana designed the building with a strong Moorish influence, including its basic rectangular plan with towers at its front corners, its ornate façade, its long and narrow windows with fans at its top and its bright colored paint scheme. Gothic revival architecture was also an influence. The building is painted red and black, Ponce's official colors. The interior is also very colorful, with vertical stripes of red and orange on the walls and a painted frieze with a fireman's motif.
The basic plan of the Parque de Bombas is a typical rectangular Moorish structure with influence of the Gothic Victorian style, measuring 65'-8" in width by 26'-3" in length. It is two stories high with a tower at each corner of the front facade (Marina Street).
The building's layout is a large, central space, flanked by two lateral towers, two stories in height, which opens to the main central area. The main central area is used as garage facilities for the fire trucks, and the two lateral towers are used as living quarters and exhibition areas. An elegant central two-sided stairway with elaborated cast iron railing leads to a mezzanine area used as administrative offices. Some interior partitions were removed from the first floor when the structure was altered for its new use as a firehouse in order to accommodate the machinery. The building has been kept in good condition throughout the years.
- Monumento a los heroes de El Polvorín (obelisk)
- Monumento a los heroes de El Polvorín (tomb)
- Museo Parque de Bombas
- Calle 25 de Enero
- Ponce High School
- An archaic term for fire station, now known in Spanish as an estación de bomberos or a parque de bomberos. A literal translation is "Parking place of pumps"; bombas can also mean "bombs".
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- National Park Service-Ponce's Parque de Bombas
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- Héroes en el mundo: olvidados aquí. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 12 October 2011 ("sic": See date printed on the electronic version of the article). Retrieved 22 December 2011.
- Armando Morales-Pares, State Architect, and Abelardo Gonzalez-Architect, State Historic Preservation Office, May 23, 1984. In National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form – Parque de Bombas de Ponce – (Ponce Firehouse). United States Department of the Interior. National Park Service. (Washington, D.C.) Page 2. Listing Reference Number 84003150. 12 July 1984.
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