344 Congress Street - Boston, MA  02210

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The Boston Sparks Association

      The Boston Sparks Association, Inc. (BSA) is a fire buff club founded on January 11, 1938 in an old loft building in Bowdoin Square, downtown Boston. The membership of the BSA is made up of people from many walks of life who share a common interest in the fire service.

     The original roster of eight members grew over the years to the present membership of about 200. In 1943 the BSA rented its first quarters at 112 Dartmouth Street, Back Bay. It became a popular place to meet and listen to the fire department radios. This is where many Boston fire enthusiasts got their first exposure to “Sparking” (now known as "buffing”). They responded to many fires over the years from that location.

     In 1960, the BSA began an affiliation with the Salvation Army, providing a canteen service to area fire departments that continued until 1995.  The canteen’s call number on the Boston Fire Departments radio began as A-5 and changed to A-30 in 1980.  The availability of a suitable vehicle and the generosity of our sister association, The Gong Club of Jersey City, New Jersey enabled the association to again begin providing canteen service to area fire, police and home land security agencies in 2004.  Today A-10 proudly responds to assist those providing these essential municipal services. “We serve those who serve”

      In 1969, due to urban renewal, the BSA moved to new quarters at 99 West Fourth Street, South Boston. It was a great location with plenty of parking and easy access to the Southeast Expressway. There was also more room to expand their collection of fire artifacts and memorabilia.  On a bitter cold night in January of 1983, the BSA suffered a tragic two-alarm fire that destroyed the contents of the quarters. Many artifacts were destroyed, along with many records, books and other memorabilia. Members removed those items worth salvaging and began a search for new quarters.

     In April of 1983 the Boston Sparks Association and the Boston Fire Museum formed an alliance and acquired the former fire house at 344 Congress Street, South Boston from the City of Boston. It had been deactivated by the Boston Fire Department in 1977 and then used by the Museum of Transportation as a repair and storage faculty. The Boston Fire Museum (BFM) was a separate group at the time; however, many members of the BFM were also BSA members.  Later that year the BFM became part of the BSA and is operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

     The BSA undertook important repairs to the building the first year, as it had not been well cared for since the 1960's. In order to make the building habitable they had to install a heating system, all new plumbing and roof. Other improvements have been made in the years since 1983, notably refurbishing the sidewalks in 2001, stabilizing the apparatus room floor in 2004, providing lateral support for the building’s side walls in 2005 and many more are planned.

     In 2008-09, a number of significant improvements were made to the building. These improvements were made possible by an agreement between BSA and the owners of the adjacent buildings, which were being developed as residential condominiums. The improvements to the BSA building included structural upgrades to the attic framing, a new roof and related run-off control, new doors and windows throughout the building, and restoration and repair of the exterior masonry.

     In 1987, our building was approved for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places as the "Congress Street Fire Station."

Click here to view the Boston Sparks Association Website

     The Boston Sparks Association, Inc. is proud to own this historic building where they operate a ever developing museum and sponsor and conduct educational events that highlight the fire service.

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