"A hook and ladder outfit stored at a central point" and a loosely organized volunteer company served as Red Lodge's defense against fire in 1897. A disastrous fire in 1900, which killed one man and destroyed four brick business blocks, highlighted the need for more comprehensive protection. By 1901, Red Lodge boasted a wooden fire hall, a reorganized volunteer fire department, a municipal water system, two hose carts, one hook-and-ladder truck, and two thousand feet of well-maintained hose. Attached to the fire station was a small city hall. By 1939, the structure had become dilapidated, and the city needed more office space. The city applied to the Works Progress Administration for money to replace the old building. A federal Depression-era jobs program, the WPA funded hundreds of projects in Montana including this one, constructed in part from material salvaged from the original structure. The 1939 building housed the city hall, fire and police departments, and jail. The design features stone, wood, and concrete, which creates a textured façade, and stepped parapets, which visually unite the one- and two-story sections.