St. Croix No. 1 Readies Ground Floor for Antique Engines

The St. Croix No. 1 Firehouse continues to enjoy support from the community and its large base of volunteers that are actively working to turn it into a firefighters’ museum for the area. Most recently, Karen Gary (left) was the winner of the 50/50 draw; she is receiving a check here from treasurer Cathy Walton.

By Lura Jackson

 

Progress has been steady at St. Croix No. 1 Firehouse were volunteers have been working throughout the past 14 years to rehabilitate the aging building into a one-of-a-kind firehouse museum. Most recently, Butch Hanson completed the reinforcement of the bottom floor by installing massive wooden beams in the basement ceiling, thus enabling the floor to be sufficiently sturdy to support two antique fire engines.

Now that the floor has been made structurally sound, work is taking place in the bottom floor entryway – where the community Christmas party is held. The floors and walls are being stripped and Dick Barnard is in the process of securing new bay doors that the engines can be brought in through.

Barnard has located a company in New Hampshire that has the doors, meaning the next steps will be to acquire them, find someone that can install them, and then to rewire electricity to the doors. The task of rewiring will be handled by Border Electric. “Border Electric has been very generous for the past 14 years. They’ve basically rewired the whole building,” Barnard said.

After the doors are installed and the period lighting is rewired on the bottom floor, and some other cosmetic details are ironed out, the bay will be ready to host the fire engines – thus creating a “firefighters’ museum that will attract people to the area,” Barnard said.

The restoration of the firehouse has relied entirely on volunteers, donations, and community fundraising. The St. Croix No. 1 Fire House Association has a fundraising project each month and the response is always a positive one. During the recent International Homecoming Festival, a 50/50 draw yielded a substantial contribution for the project, making it comparable to previous years. “People really support the project, and that just goes to show it,” Barnard said of the drawing results.

“Without the support of the community… we couldn’t do this project,” Barnard said. “We took a boarded up old building and turned it into a 19th century firehouse. Everybody in this area should pat themselves on the back.”

 

Anyone that wants to join in to support the efforts of the St. Croix No. 1 Fire House Association can call Dick Barnard at 454-3909 or 214-6496. The association has a potluck supper every month, along with other occasional gatherings. “We try to make it fun,” Barnard shared.