Old Fire Station No. 5 - RIP

Status of new or continuing risks to heritage sites

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Firehall #5

Postby cjane » Mon May 30, 2011 3:47 pm

On May 30, David Gray from CBC's Homestretch talked to CHI President Cynthia Klaassen about the past and future of the Firehall:

http://www.cbc.ca/homestretch/episode/2011/05/30/firehall-5/
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Postby newsposter » Tue May 31, 2011 11:42 am

www.calgaryherald.com - Letters to the Editor

Save the firehall, By M. Helena Myllykoski, Calgary Herald May 31, 2011 Re: "Firehall No. 5 to be replaced," May 30.

It was with great disappointment, disgust and dismay that I read that yet again a piece of Calgary's heritage is slated for demolition. It's time that Calgary planners realize that a truly progressive city and attitude is one that recognizes the beauty and value of historical structures.

It's just agonizing to see our city turn into one glass box after another. Take a look at beautiful, historical and yet progressively growing cities such as Chicago, Quebec City or Edmonton. They are much more respectful of what others did before us and realize the value of retaining historical sites as landmarks of beauty, education and respect of what came before us.

It is imperative that we demand that the minuscule number of historic buildings in Calgary be respected for what they are, a piece of western development history.

M. Helena Myllykoski, Calgary
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Postby newsposter » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:27 am

On the other hand... Editorial: Deep six No. 5
Calgary Herald, June 1, 2011

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Editorial+ ... z1O8INFmnH

Station No. 5 is the oldest working firehall in Calgary, but that doesn’t mean it should be saved from demolition. The building, at 59, is too young to be of significant historic value, yet too old to meet today’s modern firefighting needs. Among the host of troubles facing the aging structure is a floor that’s cracking under the weight of heavy fire equipment and a building that’s too small to house modern ladder trucks.

As nice as it would be to modernize the facility, the fire department says it has exhausted all options to save the building. It will be torn down and a new station built in its place on the same site at 3129 14th St. S.W.

That’s likely a wise decision. From a heritage perspective, Station No. 5 is young. It’s not even the original station, but the third incarnation, built in 1952. The Calgary Fire Department’s first Station No. 5 was built in 1909 at 1139 17th Ave. That’s long gone and now an apartment building sits on the site. We’re not even talking about the second Station No. 5, which was a Depression-era house at 1629 Scotland St. S.W.

If Calgary’s third version of the city’s fifth fire station is an example of anything, it’s the beginning of suburbia that marked the resurgence of south Calgary in the 1950s. The most interesting aspects are outside the building. The two antique rigs sitting in the garden area in front of the station used to carry hoses to early Calgary fires.

Keeping the building would mean another station would have to be built next door, which would eat up precious green space.

If this were the original station, we would be advocating fiercely for it to be given protective heritage designation. That would put it in the same category as the original firehall Station No. 6, the old brick horse stable on Memorial Drive that, for decades, housed the Calgary Fire Department’s live fleet. We wouldn’t stand by quietly and watch the former Parks Outdoor Resource Centre home be torn down, nor do we have to, because it has the protection of historic resources. It also has a lineup of writers, architects and outdoor enthusiasts wanting to move in, as the city determines its next use, and while it remains closed indefinitely because of ongoing construction.

The little brick two-storey building is a gem that literally sits on the Bow River at Memorial Drive and 10th Street N.W.

The sense of history emanates from this old hall, built in 1906, and some say it is haunted. People report hearing the sounds of clattering hoofs on a cement floor, whinnying horses and a bell ringing in the distance.

Sadly, the original Station No. 5 is already gone. The fire department promises to carefully take down the current building brick by brick, and incorporate whatever material it can in the new building.

We love our heritage and want to protect what’s left, but not all buildings are made equally. Nor should they all be treated that way.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
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Postby newsposter » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:28 am

See Herald editorial board contrary opinion above^

Save the firehall
Letter to the Editor

By Stephen Morrissey, Calgary Herald June 2, 2011 Re: "Firehall No. 5 to be replaced," May 30.

I am frustrated with the disposable culture we have in Calgary, where the concept of new is somehow always better, while old is something to discard or raze. The intended demolition of Fire Station No. 5 is another example of the wrong direction Calgary is going in regards to our history.

Your story said that the No. 5 is too old to be used for firefighting, but the question never asked is what else could it be used for? How many businesses would scramble for the opportunity to occupy a unique structure that has a historic designation like Fire Station No. 5? Could this not be converted into a museum honouring the work of firefighters? What about a unique theatre venue or a work space for artists? I can think of multiple opportunities for a building like this.

Stephen Morrissey, Calgary

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Save+fireh ... z1O8IhGkKC
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Myopic

Postby cjane » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:29 am

A response to a negative editorial regarding Firehall #5 from CHI President:

"The view that our midcentury modern buildings have little heritage value is short-sighted, since clearly in another 50 years, that value will have grown. If we destroy sites on a basis of currently perceived heritage value, we will have nothing left in another century for future generations to appreciate and learn from.

Ironically, if this same argument had been applied to Firehall No. 6 when it was decommissioned, the editorial writer wouldn't be able to use it as an example of built heritage today.

Firehall No. 5 is a core part of the built heritage of south Calgary, and an integral part of the community's future.

It is a rare example of civic buildings of this era, and so with its destruction, an important piece of Calgary's history will be lost forever."

Cynthia Klaassen is president of the Calgary Heritage Initiative.

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Myopic/4886227/story.html#ixzz1ODtubKKM
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Postby newsposter » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:58 pm

The development application for the replacement fire hall goes to Calgary Planning Commission on June 23, 2011.

http://www.calgary.ca/docgallery/BU/dba ... 0_4433.pdf
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Postby Julian » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:43 am

Thank you for the feedback. Firehall is located in a picturesque residential area with surrounding park in it. The crews have received awards over the years for their generous effort... What for to replace it?
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Postby newsposter » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:59 am

A letter writer links the fate of Eamon's Camp and Fire Hall No. 5, a pair of mid-century landmarks:

Going, going, gone

John Vickers, Calgary Herald
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Re: "Step on the gas and save historic Eamon's," Paula Arab, Opinion, March 15.

It is encouraging to see the Calgary Herald's continuing recommendation to preserve Eamon's gas station building and sign. This is a very important cause to fight for considering the sad fate of another beautiful mid-century modern building only blocks from my home.

Fire Station Number 5 in Marda Loop, constructed in the mid-1950s, is scheduled for demolition once the new fire station adjacent to it is completed. Plans are to save the original sign (sounds familiar) and a few bricks, but the rest of the building will be demolished. The vacant space will allow fire trucks better access to and from the new fire station.

It is too late to save the old fire station, but there is still time for the city to come to their senses and save an excellent example of this rare type of architecture.

John Vickers, Calgary

© Calgary Herald 2012

Here is a link to the Eamon's thread: http://www.calgaryheritage.org/CHIForum/vi ... =3198#3198
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Postby newsposter » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:00 pm

Update: The old No. 5 firehall is now in the process of being demolished. :(
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Postby newsposter » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:56 pm

Friday, November 2, 2012
Calgary Fire Department proudly opens new South Calgary No. 5 replacement Fire Station
http://www.calgarycitynews.com/2012/11/ ... opens.html

New fire hall reflects historic South Calgary No. 5
Red brick building was city’s oldest working fire station
By Sherri Zickefoose, Calgary HeraldNovember 2, 2012

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/fire+hall+ ... z2BPoPAzgI
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