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
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
Museum formed an alliance
and acquired the former fire house at
Boston from the City of
Boston. It had been
deactivated by the Boston Fire Department in
1977 and then used by the
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.