City of Racine Fire Station – 1936
Racine was expanding west from the lake and needed fire protection in new neighborhoods.  Fire station Number 7 (now known as Fire Station 4) was built west of the busy North Shore railroad tracks, which ran through west Racine in the 1930s.  Trains passing through the city blocked street level crossings for extended periods of time, which caused prolonged delays for fire trucks responding to fire emergencies. These delays resulted in numerous fire-related deaths and promoted the construction of this fire station.
 
The WPA was instituted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt with a presidential executive order under the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of April 1935, to generate public jobs for the unemployed. By 1936 over 3.4 million people were employed on various WPA programs.
 
The WPA was charged with selecting projects that would make a real and lasting contribution but would not compete with private firms. As it turned out, the "pump-priming" effect of federal projects actually stimulated private business during the Depression years. The WPA focused on tangible improvements: During its tenure, workers constructed 651,087 miles of roads, streets and highways; and built, repaired or refurbished 124,031 bridges, 125,110 public buildings, 8,192 parks, and 853 landing fields. In addition, workers cleaned slums, revived forests, and extended electrical power to rural locations.  
 
 
Fire Station No. 7 was built in 1936 as Works Progress Administration (WPA) Racine Project 3514.  Racine Architect Ellis A. Klinger, whose office was located at 612 14th St. designed the original building, for $350.00. Another building on the tour this year – a house at 726 Orchard Street - was also designed by Mr. Klinger.  There is a brick banding theme on both buildings. The fire station only has bandings on the corners, while the home on Orchard has a band that runs the entire length of the building.
 
A complete list of WPA projects in Racine during the 1930s and early 1940s doesn't really exist.  Some of the WPA projects in the Racine area include this fire station, Mitchell Elementary School, and improvements or expansions to McKinley Middle School, Washington Park High School, Knapp Elementary School, and Waterford High School.
  
The station has experienced several updates and expansions, but much of the original 1936 building still remains intact. In 1980, a two-bay expansion was added east of the original fire station to accommodate a ladder truck and ambulance.  The ambulance was added in 1990 as the third full-time ambulance in the City of Racine.
 
The City of Racine Fire Department is a full-time fire department. It was founded January 22, 1843. They provide fire and EMS services to the residents of Racine. The Current Chief is Steve Hansen.
 
The current designation of this firehouse is Station 4 - West/Southwest and is staffed by 21 firefighters and EMS staff spread across three 24-hour shifts.  Seven members are always on duty at any one time.
 
We thank Chief Hansen and the firefighters of Fire Station No. 7 for opening this important piece of Racine history for this year’s tour.