One of downtown Lawton's oldest buildings has nationwide preservation standing and metropolis officers say they'll 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 inbuilt 1930-31, the neighborhood's response to a devastating hearth that destroyed a close-by church that was lower than a 12 months outdated. Central was the town's solely hearth station till 1942, and it was Lawton's first stand-alone hearth 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 objective.
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 stated, including the station is one of the few buildings left from Lawton's historic downtown and it's situated near the few remaining buildings, together with the Masonic lodge. "It is necessary that we preserve that intact as a lot as we are able to."
Burk has lengthy celebrated the historical past behind Lawton's first hearth station and he's amongst these planning to protect the constructing whereas making it related to at this time's hearth division. The station's firefighting crews will relocate to the new public security constructing on Railroad Road when that complicated is completed subsequent 12 months and develop into Fire Station No. . Central Fire Station will retain that identify and develop into the division's new administrative headquarters.
Burk stated the constructing can be renovated for its new operate and whereas some upgrades can be sensible (modernized plumbing, for instance), different adjustments might improve the constructing's unique look. He stated whereas actual renovations will rely on the price range, he want to see present residential home windows changed with energyefficient home windows that mimic the looks of the station's 1930 look. He additionally desires to revive home windows that have been bricked in on the west facet of the higher flooring and take a look at inside adjustments 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 seemed like," Burk stated, 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 stated 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 stated. "And, it is nonetheless lovely."
In accordance 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 integrated 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 situated in numerous areas, together with the bays. Unique steel 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 neighborhood.
Lawton's first designated hearth 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 fireplace on Jan. 11, 1930, destroyed the 9-month-outdated First Christian Church in downtown Lawton. Information accounts stated 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 hearth precipitated $30,000 in harm and nearly instantly prompted dialogue of a bond situation to purchase new firefighting tools and construct a new station.
An unique proposal for a $71,000 bond situation solidified to $100,000 for the March 1930 election poll that was simply authorised by voters. By summer time, 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 hearth items, hose drying tower, drill tower and smoke room for use for drilling and follow. The second flooring would home a dorm for firefighters, recreation room, kitchen, bathtub and locker rooms, and a non-public bed room and loo for the fireplace chief, who lived on the station.
Homes on the three tons that have been to develop into Central Fire Station have been demolished in September and contractors broke floor in October, 9 months after the fireplace that prompted the bond situation. On the identical time, the newspaper reported the town council had authorised the acquisition of a new Mack Worldwide Motor Firm pumper truck and three,000 ft of new hearth hose.
Firefighters moved into their new dwelling on Monday, April 20, 1931, taking up a state-of-the-artwork constructing pronounced as "one of the very best in state." The completely fashionable facility was basically 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 stated.
Firefighters have been in a position to benefit from the facilities that the fashionable 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 might combine chemical compounds to "familiarize themselves with the varied varieties of some they'll encounter in combating fires," information accounts stated.
To rejoice the opening of the complicated, 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," corresponding to shades for the dorm home windows.
Central was Lawton's solely hearth 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. The town modified, the division grew and stations have been added, however Central remained the town's main hearth station.
In 1956, metropolis voters authorised one other hearth bond situation that funded adjustments 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 job within the metropolis's growth and the lives of its residents.
In 1948, the Lowery-Whitehead American Legion Submit sponsored a marketing campaign to purchase a transportable iron lung to be saved at Central for emergency use within the therapy of these with polio. The iron lung was positioned at Central in September 1948, with about $900 of the $,209 price raised by the neighborhood. 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: neighborhood planning and growth, and structure.
Consultants stated the constructing is a superb instance of a particular brick Industrial fashion constructing and nonetheless has its unique pink, gold and brown brickwork and granite. They stated that whereas Lawton had different buildings in its 30-block downtown constructed within the Industrial fashion, city renewal efforts demolished most of the 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 solid stone detailing, specialists stated.
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 the town engineer when he turned architect for the town's first stand-alone hearth station. His work additionally may be seen at Becker Funeral Dwelling and within the 1940 addition of Carnegie Library City Corridor.
Data from: The Lawton Structure, http://www.swoknews.com
An AP Member Alternate shared by The Lawton-Structure.