On the Corner Vol. 13 Issue 1, Q1 2019

Modern architect Hobart Wagener designed neighborhood fire station

By Carol Taylor

Hobart Wagener’s architecture shaped the character of Boulder. In a career that spanned 35 years, ‘Hoby’ Wagener designed an impressive body of modernist buildings including residences, schools, churches and public buildings. Many of his structures won awards, such as the Williams Village residence hall towers, and others are city landmarks like the Labrot House on 6th Street.

Boulder Fire Station 2, at the corner of Broadway and Baseline Road, is a mid-century modern Wagener design from 1958. Built to serve the University Hill neighborhood as well as the University of Colorado, the station replaced the original BFD No. 2 which is located at 10th and Aurora. That station served the University Hill neighborhood until the late 1950s and has been landmarked and repurposed as the Boulder Pottery Lab.

Wagener’s fire station was built at a time when Boulder was growing rapidly, following the establishment of the Rocky Flats Atomic plant, the National Bureau of Standards Central Radio Propagation Laboratory and , Ball Brothers Research in the 1950s. These new scientific ventures were exciting for Boulder. They created hundreds of good jobs and brought many new residents to town.

Preservation surveys describe the Wagener-designed fire station as Usonian, after the style of some buildings designed in the 1930s by Frank Lloyd Wright. It features a ‘ground hugging’ horizontal orientation, overhanging eaves, a pair of flanking wings and a shallow gabled roof.

The Colorado Cultural Resource survey cites the quality of construction, the orange-red patterned brickwork and detail of overlapped brick corners as notable in the design... read more