Monday, August 8, 2011

HBI Moves into "Torrent Six"

On Monday, August 1st, we packed up HBI’s School Street office of 50 years and moved into the Eustis Street Fire House. All things considered, the move went fairly smoothly, aside from a few problems with our phone and Internet connections.

When we arrived to unpack on Tuesday morning, we were greeted by Bing Broderick of Haley House Bakery CafĂ© welcoming us to the neighborhood with a delicious plate of muffins. A little later, we received a call from Boston Sign that our reproduction of the original fire house’s “Torrent Six” sign was ready to install.

As was tradition, the Eustis Street Fire House had been named Torrent Six after its hand-pumper engine, which was built by the Hunneman Company of Roxbury. The company’s founder, William C. Hunneman, had apprenticed under Paul Revere, and in 1802 he began his own business building high quality hand-forged fire engines.

These engines were famous for their power and beauty, according to Stephanie Schorow, author of Boston on Fire. Each machine was numbered and given a name – many water-related, such as “Neptune,” “Deluge,” and “Niagara.” In all, there were 16 engines named “Torrent.” The engines were a source of great pride for the fire fighters, and they were often lavishly ornamented with scrollwork, gold leaf, and mottoes such as “We Come, we Conquer.” Unfortunately, the Hunneman Company was slow to transition to new innovations in firefighting equipment and went out of business in 1883.

The Eustis Street Fire House was built in 1859 at a cost of $2,777.40. Preserving the 152-year-old structure was a far more costly, complicated process, but we are very happy with the results and look forward to a ribbon cutting celebration in the fall.


  1. My family used to live in West Roxbury, and among my grandmother's effects is a narrow piece of cloth, with the legend "Torrent Six" printed with the same font as in the picture. I assume it dates from the 19th century, but I don't know what it could be: Was it an armband from some fundraising effort? its very thin, about 15 - 18 inches long and only about an inch wide. Anyone have any ideas?
    I am also seeking a picture of Nickerson's Haberdashery on Washington St;

  2. I’m impressed, I have to say. Very seldom do I see a blog thats both educational and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Your blog is important; the matter is something that not a lot of people are talking intelligently about. I’m really happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to it.
    Free RX Card for dental

  3. Cool! Reliving the olden times is actually nice. :) Makes us appreciate history. :D

  4. It's amazing how a great structure is being preserved with all the effort & passion. I commend all the people involve in this preservation. Thank you for a very informative blog, I am so glad to see & learn valuable articles like this. Thank you for sharing. I'll be looking forward for more.

  5. Wow! an amazing 152 year old structure has been successfully preserved! But is it not creepy in there? I hope not. You guys are wonderful. As we notice some of this old structures are much stable and elegant. Thanks for the informative post.

    History is fun-tastic!

  6. Amazing after all the disaster, tragedy and war it is still standing and it is now restore and preserve. Wonderful. I hope all vintage and oldest buildings and houses too will be preserve and restore. good job