Inman Square Fire Station Mural

Cambridge is full of wonderful murals and the large mural above the fire station in Inman Square is hard to miss.

Even so, I have to confess to not really looking carefully at it until I took a tour of Inman Square led by Krystyna Colburn as part of Cambridge Discovery Days this summer.  Colburn pointed out two fun elements of the mural that I had never noticed – more about that later.

Inman Square Fire Station Mural

Inman Square Fire Station Mural

 

Engine Company No. 5 Mural

Artist Ellary Eddy was chosen to paint the mural after the Cambridge Arts Council held a competition for local artists.  The mural was painted in 1980 and restored, also by Eddy, in 1999. It is three times life size and depicts the firefighters of Engine Company No. 5.

What’s the secret of the fire station mural?  Well, there are two surprises in the mural.

Second from left is George Washington holding a pail.  Washington appears in the mural to commemorate the time he spent in Cambridge during the Revolution when what we now call the Longfellow House served as his headquarters during the Seige of Boston.   Washington also earned his place in the mural from his service as a volunteer firefighter in Virginia.  He’s behind the fire station’s dalmation.

George Washington in the Fire Station mural in Inman Square

George Washington in the Fire Station mural in Inman Square

 

The other surprise in the mural is Benjamin Franklin who stands on the fire engine’s running board.  Eddy painted Ben Franklin in red hightop sneakers.   Franklin never lived in Cambridge but earned his place on the mural as the founder of the first volunteer fire department in 1736.

Benjamin Franklin founded the first volunteer fire company

Benjamin Franklin founded the first volunteer fire company

 

 Check it out the next time you’re in Inman Square.

The Inman Square Fire Station Mural is on the west wall of the Inman Square firehouse at the intersection of Hampshire Street and Cambridge Street.

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