Cultural Tourism DC has worked to make sure Washington residents know that history is all around us, not just on the National Mall.


The plaque honoring Fire Engine Company No. 4 with a photograph taken in 1943 by Gordon Parks (Courtesy of Cultural Tourism DC)

On August 23 Cultural Tourism DC will unveil a plaque at 931 R St. N.W., a site of Fire Engine Company No. 4. Engine 4 was organized as the first all-black company about 1918. Its first firehouse was in Southwest. In 1940 Engine 4 was moved to the R Street location, a firehouse that was built in 1885. The D.C. Fire Department was desegregated in 1960 and Engine 4 moved to Sherman Avenue N.W., now named for Burton W. Johnson, the city’s first African American fire chief.

As part of his documentation of Washington life, Gordon Parks did a series of photographs of Engine 4, now housed at the Library of Congress.