Darien's first fire department was created in the summer of 1895. While originally called Darien Fire Company No. 1, the department changed its name to Eagle Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 after only a few months. The fledgling force used a "bucket brigade" system to fight fires.

The first apparatus -- a horse-drawn fire truck -- was purchased in 1896, and a firehouse was built that same year to accommodate it, according to the Corbin Document.

The brick firehouse pictured above was built almost 20 years later, in 1914, on the same site as the Darien Volunteer Department's current building, near the intersection of Post Road and Mansfield Avenue.

Four years after the building was constructed, on a frigid day in January, 1918, the department faced its greatest challenge. A workman at Walter Stewart's general store attempted to thaw pipes with a blow torch, and set fire to the building, which was located at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Post Road.

High winds from the west carried the flames through several buildings on the Post Road, until the flames came to a stop at the Home Bank and Trust Company. The brick building blocked the blaze from continuing down that portion of the street, but the wind changed direction, destroying a strip of buildings along the Post Road from Railroad Avenue to Center Street. The damage was estimated at $125,000 -- about 1.8 million in today's dollars.

The firemen received aid from departments in New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Rowayton, Noroton and Noroton Heights.

An addition to the firehouse in the postcard was built in 1940, and according to the department's Web site, the current facility, which more than doubled the building's size, was dedicated in 1964.