Location

Billings, Montana

Client

Old Maverick Fire Station Development Venture, L.P.

Size

5,500 square feet

Completed

2004

Project Highlights

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places; Historic Tax Credit Project; Yellowstone Historic Preservation Board

Description

Built in 1911, the Old Maverick Fire House is a two story brick structure located on Billings southside. The 5,500 SF building originally housed Fire Station No. 2 and is the city’s oldest remaining fire station building.

Since the building was already listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the intent of the project was to restore the historical elements that had been removed, repair the areas which had started to deteriorate, and create new uses for the facility. The project has rejuvenated a part of Billing’s South Side District, and now houses office space on the first floor and two loft style apartments on the upper level.

In 2007, the Old Maverick Fire House received the Best Practices Achievement Award from the Yellowstone Historic Preservation Board.

HISTORY (From the National Register Listing)

Early Billings relied on the volunteers of Maverick House Company to fight fires. Their equipment included two-wheeled hose carts, which the fire fighters bulled by hand. In 1894, the company purchased its first team of fire horses and hired its first paid employee. The city soon added more paid men to the crew.

The Mavericks operated out of Billings' combination city hall and firehouse after 1903. In 1910, voters passed a bond issue to build a second firehouse. This two-story brick building reflects the Prairie style with its horizontal emphasis, low-pitched roof, wide overhanging eaves, band of narrow windows; and geometric ornamentation. The modern, forward looking style was an appropriate choice for a firehouse designed specifically to accommodate the weight of the city's new 'triple combination fire automobile." The fire company's horse teams remained at city hall, along with the horse-drawn hood and ladder and hose wagons.

Like most early twentieth-century fire stations, the new Fire House #2 combined several functions. It served as civic symbol, a garage, and a residence. In 1911, the fire department had ten paid employees, assisted by twenty-four hours a day, with only one day off a week. A familiar brass fire pole gave the quick access to the ground floor from their second-floor living quarters. In 1963, the city closed this firehouse, leaving the building to the Salvation Army. Renovations in 2004 have carefully maintained the firehouse's original character while converting the building to office space and apartments.
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