St. Croix Firehouse Nears Completion

Drawing the winners in the St. Croix No. 1 Fire House Association raffle is Shari Doten of Artemis's Attic. The raffle raised $500 in profits for the firehouse reconstruction. From left to right: Mary Barnard, Gladys Greenlaw, Shari Doten, and Irene Moreside. (Photo by Lura Jackson)

By Lura Jackson

 

Over the past decade and a half, the St. Croix No. 1 Firehouse has undergone a major transformation as volunteers from around the community have committed their time and resources to restoring the fabled hall. Once the prized building of the local firefighting teams, the firehouse fell into disuse in the second half of the 20th century and at one point it appeared ready for demolition. An association of community members came forward to stop its destruction, and the group has been making progress with the building ever since. Now, there are just a few steps remaining before the building is ready to open its doors as a museum.

“Right now, the building has all been redone except for the main truck bay,” summarized Dick Barnard, president of the St. Croix No. 1 Fire House Association. Completing the truck bay will require a series of tasks, he explained. “We’ve got to take the suspended ceiling out, we’ve got to take the paneling off the walls, we have to get the linoleum up off the floor, we have to get the original lighting up on the ceiling, and we have to give it a fresh coat of paint. We also have to go into the basement to shore up the floors to make sure that the floor will hold the two antique fire trucks that we have,” Barnard said, referring to the anticipated return of two engines in prime condition. 

The first bit of work that will take place this year will happen when six Rennai heaters purchased from V.L. Tammaro are installed in the building in April. After that, the team will be able to remove the old furnace from the basement, enabling them to proceed with shoring up the floor. 

To achieve its goals, the association regularly holds fundraisers such as a raffle drawing for three $100 gas cards. Tickets for the drawing went on sale in January, and the drawing itself was held on March 1st at Artemis’s Attic. The winners were Elaine Holland, Brenda Lee, and Ken Thomas. 

Barnard said that people were very receptive to the raffle drawing and everyone approached purchased at least one ticket. By the end of the contest, more than $500 in profit was generated for the firehouse.

“We want to thank the community at large for supporting the St. Croix Firehouse for the past 14 years,” Barnard said. “Now there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for completing the project.”