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Fire Station #24
*On this date in 2022, Fire Station #24 became a Minneapolis landmark. Chosen by the Minneapolis City Council, this was a Black run fire station operated during Jim Crow segregation.
Established in 1879, the Minneapolis Fire Department (MFD) was in high demand as the city rapidly expanded, often responding to structures built before approved building codes. In 1888, John Cheatham was one of 37 firefighters hired in Minneapolis and one of the city's first Black firemen. One neighborhood in great need was along the Hiawatha corridor near Minnehaha Regional Park, where Fire Station #24 was completed in 1907.
That year, Cheatham and two other Black firefighters (Lafayette Mason and Frank Harris) oversaw the Minnehaha Fire Station located at 45th Street and Hiawatha Avenue. The community spoke out and said Black historic preservation must happen. On February 18th, 2022, there was a ceremony to rename a neighboring side street to station 24 Cheatham Street.
Minneapolis currently operates 19 fire stations throughout the city, deploying over 400 firefighters to protect lives and property and serve the safety needs of local communities. Recently the city has taken steps to preserve the memory of one such station that holds a special place in the history of Black people in Minnesota.