David Garber is a real estate and economic development specialist in Washington, DC. He’s written for the Urban Land Institute and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and has served in advisory roles for the 11th Street Bridge Park and the historic MLK Library restoration.
A century-old fire house gets remade, pole and all.
There's just something about fire houses that screams America. Add in a "rising from the ashes" story line and it's kind of the American preservation/restoration/rebuilding dream. Enter Fire Station No. 6 in Houston, Texas.
Built in 1903 (see "before" pictures below), No. 6 is located on Washington Avenue in Houston's Sixth Ward neighborhood - a story of regeneration in itself, but still dotted with auto lots, empty storefronts, and untended buildings. When Tom Hair, founder of communications and marketing firm Axiom, was looking to buy a property to house his growing company, he wanted a space that reflected Axiom's creativity and energy. He found it in the then-dilapidated Fire Station No. 6.
Although the brick exterior was still in decent shape and structurally sound, the windows were rotten and the building needed a full roof replacement, as well as restoration work on the metal shingles and cornices.
Today, Fire Station No. 6 is a beacon for historic adaptation done right. The exterior gleams, and the interior feels fresh but still retains elements of the historic building - like a brass fire pole that's available for use by the firm's employees. The building has marks of of the past - exposed bricks, restored columns, and old photos splashed across the walls - while still accommodating the needs and styles of a modern work space.
Owner Tom Hair is rightfully proud of his work: "We have one of the few buildings that has been restored to its original presence on Washington Avenue." Kudos on a job well done, and let's hope that as the neighborhood develops, the number of restorations only continues to grow.
Below, images of the revamped firehouse, courtesy of Pete Lacker Photography.
This post originally appeared on the National Trust for Historic Preservation blog, an Atlantic partner site.