The fire station at Skansen was built in 1903. After a big fire in 1901, the city acknowledged the need for an up-to-date fire department and found hidden resources for its funding. The investments of 1903 are still enjoyable for us today - the fire station is now a cultural heritage site and among the town’s many prides. Mind you, not everyone praised the building’s architecture in 1903…
Most people today seem to think that the fire station on the hill is a beautiful building. Looking up on the hillside from the Fish Market, it stands there white and pretty as the pride of the town. Back in 1903, however, many felt that the architect had done a poor job. One critic of architecture insisted that “the building was designed in Madagascan renaissance, clearly influenced by Indochinese styles.” The critic further claimed that “most strangers believe it to be an ancient stave church; others think that it could be the Hanseatic Church – while most believe it to be a construction moved here from some exhibition where it may have served as a Camera Obscura or Magica.”
“The building was designed in Madagascan renaissance, clearly influenced by Indochinese styles.”
Inside the fire station there was room for one fire wagon, a stable room for one horse and a work room. On the first floor the fire chief had a flat, and the watchman sat in the tower, where he had a telegraph and a direct telephone line to the main fire station in town.
Skansen fire station was not in use during daytime. At night the station had a watchman awake in the tower and a fireman on duty while he slept, unless, of course there was a fire.
The station acquired its first fire engine in 1936. At this time the last horse, Olav, was retired. He was given a new position in the municipal waste disposal service. The fire station was closed down in 1969, and today Buekorpset – the Drummer Boys Battalion – keeps guard at Skansen.
The function of the idyllic pond by the station (66 meters above sea level) was to save the town in case of a major fire. Its purpose was to increase the water pressure when the normal level was no longer sufficient. The pond was disused by the town or the fire department. Local youths, capable of jumping over the fences, enjoyed the area during summers. Since 2015 the pond area was turned into a parking garage, with a shallow water installation on top. The beautiful surrpunding park is a popular recreational area.