One of downtown Lawton's oldest buildings has nationwide preservation standing and metropolis officers say they may defend the constructing as they start planning for its new use.
Central Fire Station — celebrated final week for its designation on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations — is left over from a bygone period, when downtown Lawton boasted of blocks and blocks of companies, and other people strolling shoulder-to-shoulder crowded sidewalks on weekends as they visited a spread of retailers, eating places, bars, film theaters, banks and different markings of the prairie metropolis, The Lawton-Structure (http://bit.ly/1SmEezf ) reported.
The station was in-built 1930-31, the group's response to a devastating fireplace that destroyed a close-by church that was lower than a 12 months outdated. Central was town's solely fireplace station till 1942, and it was Lawton's first stand-alone fireplace station (earlier than Central, Lawton firefighters have been housed within the basement of metropolis corridor). Whereas the 2-story station is not the one metropolis authorities constructing on the nationwide register, it's the solely constructing nonetheless used for its unique goal.
Fire Chief Dewayne Burk cited the constructing's historical past at a ceremony final week that marked the official Nationwide Register of Historic Locations designation, saying he particularly loved the ceremony as a result of it introduced again retired firefighters who had their very own tales.
"It was one of my greatest days, to have the ability to reminisce after they got here again to the constructing the place they spent a lot time," he mentioned, including the station is one of the few buildings left from Lawton's historic downtown and it's positioned near the few remaining buildings, together with the Masonic lodge. "It is essential that we hold that intact as a lot as we are able to."
Burk has lengthy celebrated the historical past behind Lawton's first fireplace station and he's amongst these planning to protect the constructing whereas making it related to at present's fireplace division. The station's firefighting crews will relocate to the new public security constructing on Railroad Road when that advanced is completed subsequent 12 months and turn out to be Fire Station No. . Central Fire Station will retain that identify and turn out to be the division's new administrative headquarters.
Burk mentioned the constructing can be renovated for its new perform and whereas some upgrades can be sensible (modernized plumbing, for instance), different modifications may improve the constructing's unique look. He mentioned whereas actual renovations will rely on the finances, he wish to see current residential home windows changed with energyefficient home windows that mimic the looks of the station's 1930 look. He additionally needs to revive home windows that have been bricked in on the west facet of the higher flooring and have a look at inside modifications to revive the unique character.
"My aim is to get the outside of the constructing as shut as we are able to to what it initially regarded like," Burk mentioned, including the constructing nonetheless has many of the options utilized by firefighters after they moved into the brand-new constructing on April 30, 1931.
Burk mentioned his favourite unique contact was one thing he simply realized about: stone work used on the entrance entrance is granite mined from the Wichita Mountains.
"It's the unique granite," he mentioned. "And, it is nonetheless lovely."
In line with the historical past of the constructing, the black Wichita Mountains granite wainscoting under the home windows on the entrance of the constructing was half of the design included by Lawton architect Man Dale and constructed by F.H. Daggs Development of Hollis.
Researchers say the inside of the constructing has retained a lot of its unique configuration, to incorporate some ending touches: the brass poles that lead from the dorm rooms to the engine bay and the yellow glazed structural tile positioned in numerous areas, together with the bays. Authentic metallic lighting fixtures stay on the columns within the bay space and the tools room nonetheless in use was the constructing's unique tools room, with its historic wooden paneled overhead door that divides the room from the engine room.
The historical past of Central Fire Station is a historical past of the group.
Lawton's first designated fireplace division got here in 1911, when metropolis authorities modified to a constitution/fee system (earlier than then, volunteers fought fires). Firefighters have been housed in metropolis corridor, together with Lawton police division and all different metropolis places of work.
That modified after a hearth on Jan. 11, 1930, destroyed the 9-month-outdated First Christian Church in downtown Lawton. Information accounts mentioned firefighters have been hampered of their efforts as a result of the station's pumper truck had damaged the week earlier than whereas responding to an out-of-town name. The fireplace brought on $30,000 in harm and nearly instantly prompted dialogue of a bond problem to purchase new firefighting tools and construct a new station.
An unique proposal for a $71,000 bond problem solidified to $100,000 for the March 1930 election poll that was simply permitted by voters. By summer season, metropolis leaders had plans to construct the station within the 600 block of D Avenue, instantly east of Acme Laundry. Detailed designs by native architect Man Dale confirmed a $40,000 station that featured three driveways for three fireplace models, hose drying tower, drill tower and smoke room for use for drilling and observe. The second flooring would home a dorm for firefighters, recreation room, kitchen, tub and locker rooms, and a non-public bed room and toilet for the hearth chief, who lived on the station.
Homes on the three tons that have been to turn out to be Central Fire Station have been demolished in September and contractors broke floor in October, 9 months after the hearth that prompted the bond problem. On the similar time, the newspaper reported town council had permitted the acquisition of a new Mack Worldwide Motor Firm pumper truck and three,000 ft of new fireplace hose.
Firefighters moved into their new house on Monday, April 20, 1931, taking on a state-of-the-artwork constructing pronounced as "one of the most effective in state." The totally fashionable facility was primarily fireproof as a result of its flooring and roof have been made of concrete, and doorways and home windows have been framed in metal. Inside doorways have been the one half of the constructing made of wooden, accounts mentioned.
Firefighters have been capable of benefit from the facilities that the trendy constructing offered, together with a drill tower that allowed them to coach with a life internet, and decreasing and elevating hoses and ladders. There was a smoke and gasoline room on the second flooring, the place firefighters may combine chemical compounds to "familiarize themselves with the varied varieties of some they may encounter in preventing fires," information accounts mentioned.
To rejoice the opening of the advanced, a firemen's dance was held into the early morning hours of July 5, with greater than ,000 folks in attendance. These folks raised $300 to buy tools for the kitchen and different issues "badly wanted by the division," comparable to shades for the dorm home windows.
Central was Lawton's solely fireplace station for a decade, till Station 2 was constructed within the 800 block of West Lee Boulevard and Station three at Southwest 17th and Ferris. Town modified, the division grew and stations have been added, however Central remained town's major fireplace station.
In 1956, metropolis voters permitted one other fireplace bond problem that funded modifications to the constructing in 1957, together with new tools and a second flooring classroom that changed the 4-story drill tower that had been eliminated in 1955.
The constructing and its firefighters continued to play a task within the metropolis's improvement and the lives of its residents.
In 1948, the Lowery-Whitehead American Legion Put up sponsored a marketing campaign to purchase a transportable iron lung to be saved at Central for emergency use within the remedy of these with polio. The iron lung was positioned at Central in September 1948, with about $900 of the $,209 value raised by the group. Firefighters say that within the 1960s, residents with respiratory issues used the station's tools to fill their oxygen tanks.
Central Fire Station was positioned onto the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations primarily based on two classes: group planning and improvement, and structure.
Consultants mentioned the constructing is a superb instance of a particular brick Industrial fashion constructing and nonetheless has its unique purple, gold and brown brickwork and granite. They mentioned that whereas Lawton had different buildings in its 30-block downtown constructed within the Industrial fashion, city renewal efforts demolished most of town's pre-World Conflict II buildings. And, whereas there are different pre-World Conflict II buildings in downtown, Central is exclusive as a result of of its uncommon combination of stacked and herringbone brickwork and forged stone detailing, consultants mentioned.
Architect Man Dale additionally has some distinction. Dale got here to Lawton in 1906 to design First Nationwide Financial institution, then remained within the space to design different buildings earlier than relocating to Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1917. He returned to Lawton in 1925 and was working as an architect and town engineer when he grew to become architect for town's first stand-alone fireplace station. His work additionally will be seen at Becker Funeral Residence and within the 1940 addition of Carnegie Library City Corridor.
Info from: The Lawton Structure, http://www.swoknews.com
An AP Member Change shared by The Lawton-Structure.