Steamer No. 10 History
We are located at the intersection of Allen St, Western Avenue, and Madison Avenue in Albany, NY. In 1828 this was the starting point of the first train in New York State – the Dewitt Clinton, a passenger train which went to Crane St. in Schenectady. More than half a century later, in 1891, our building was constructed as the tenth firehouse in the city of Albany to house a steam-powered fire engine. In 1910 the city started experimenting with automotive fire trucks and by 1925 had committed to them. At this time, the city tore down the horse barn and added the hose tower as well as Central Station – a police station – to the firehouse.
Although the adjoining police station is still active Albany eventually stopped using the Steamer No. 10 Fire Station in 1989. The steam powered fire engine was long gone, but Steamer No. 10 was, and still is, carved in stone above the door. When we moved in and had to choose a name for ourselves, what choice did we have? We kept it!
Steamer No.10 Theatre opened on February First, 1991, after a two year, $300,000 renovation of the firehouse. We created a 120 seat proscenium theatre with excellent sightlines and acoustics, a state-of-the-art theatrical lighting system and office space. We installed new seats in the fall of 2005 with the help of grants from Verizon Wireless and the New York State Council on the Arts, replacing seats which served in the now absent Hellman Theatre from 1959 to 1989. New carpeting and fresh paint on the walls complete the interior makeover. We’ve also undertaken another addition to the old firehouse…a lobby, which is under construction even now. Once complete it will evoke the image of a fantasy castle, complete with drawbridge, while maintaining the architectural integrity of the original fire station. To see just what we’re doing, take a look at the castle. One of our mottos is that “Many hands make light work”, so if you would like to help this project along why don’t you volunteer!