The Texas Historical Commission has notified the Linden Heritage Foundation that the 1939 Linden Firehouse was chosen to receive a planning grant from the Texas Preservation Trust Fund. This grant will fund a professional preservation plan called a Historic Structure Report (HSR for short) which is a comprehensive study of the building and the recommended restoration work to be performed to keep the project in conformance with national preservation standards.
An HSR is led by architectural professionals with preservation credentials. The architectural firm leading the Firehouse HSR will be Architexas of Dallas. The cost of the architectural work to lead the HSR is $11,200. The Foundation has already raised the necessary match funds. Jo Anna Duncan will provide photographic services; and to top off the HSR effort the Foundation’s local research team – Kay Stephens, Gail Dorgan, and Sue Lazara – will provide the required historical documentation.
Last January, the Old Firehouse was officially determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, which was a prerequisite to apply for this particular Texas Preservation Trust Fund grant. This prestigious grant award has very specific eligibility requirements, so only a finite number of Texas properties can qualify to make application. Once the HSR is completed, the Old Firehouse will be allowed to reapply for a larger grant from the same Texas Preservation Trust Fund, toward the actual restoration work.
The award letter from Mark Wolfe, Executive Director of The Texas Historical Commission, is available for viewing as a pdf file at tptf-award-old-linden-firehouse.
An Image Gallery page has been added to our website which will feature the work of photographers who have graciously permitted us to use their images in support of the Foundation. The page is available from either our main menu or directly at lindenheritage.org/image-gallery.
Laura Sergeant graciously offered the Foundation use of photographs of downtown Linden that she took in June of 2016. Her comments about the images follow.
“I chose to use black and white images because they highlighted the simple geometry of the structures. The Texas sky presents each structure at its powerful best. The buildings on the square, as well as the water tower, stand guard as the Cass County Courthouse reigns elegantly, awaiting its guests.”
Linden Heritage Foundation recently accepted a generous contribution to help rescue Linden’s 1939 Firehouse. Ward Timber Company of Linden has donated $1,000 in recognition of the role fire departments play in protection of our structures and woodlands.
The Linden Heritage Foundation was established in 2015 as a public charity to protect historic resources of Linden. The Foundation quickly realized that endangerment issues impacting the Firehouse had to be addressed immediately if this historically significant structure was to be saved
Recently, the Linden Firehouse was preliminarily selected by the Texas Preservation Trust Fund for a crucial Project Planning Grant. To raise the necessary match money for that grant, the Linden Heritage Foundation established the Firehouse Rescue Fund.
The overall plan is to restore the Firehouse in a way that retains its eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places, improve the visual appearance of downtown Linden, and give the City a commercial shot in the arm. Because of the building’s historical significance, it is possible to move in this direction using tax money we have already paid to our state and federal governments.
The immediate state grant available to the Firehouse is designed to fund planning services by an architect possessing the type of credentials required by the Texas Preservation Trust Fund on projects chosen to receive public funding. Planning work done under this grant will also serve to keep the Firehouse on track for a possible “Full Restoration Grant” the following year.
Architect: R. Stanley-Brown
Local Builder: A. Morse
Designation: Eligible for National Registry of Historic Places
Recognition: Preservation Texas 2016 Texas’ Most Endangered Places List – Local Public Buildings category
The following news articles appeared in the local press to usher in the new structure:
January 26, 1939: “Linden started work this week on building a stucco fire station for their fire engine, and the building will include office, storage room and sleeping quarters for two volunteers…”
February 23, 1939: “DID YOU HEAR . . . the Fire Truck as it moved into its new home Tuesday noon, near the water tower? This is a great improvement to our little city.”
Architectural historians and preservationists have long recognized that no community, neither its buildings nor its forests nor its people, is safe without a fire station. In early 2016, in recognition of its historical uniqueness and significance, the Old Linden Firehouse was named by Preservation Texas to its 2016 Texas’ Most Endangered Places list. When making that announcement to a crowd gathered in Austin, the following remarks were offered by Evan Thompson, Executive Director of Preservation Texas:
“While many historical buildings have been lost to fire, so many have been saved through the valiant efforts of firefighters. That we are able to enjoy neighborhoods filled with old wooden structures is a testament to the success of our firefighters, and old fire stations represent the front line in preservation.”
We hope you will honor the town of Linden with a gift of your support to rescue, restore, and reimagine our Old Linden Firehouse of 1939.
The Linden Heritage Foundation’s reception honoring Charter Members was a delightful evening graciously hosted by Ruth Halleck on April 23, 2016. Attendees came from Arkansas, the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex, South Texas, and Northeast Texas. Hospitality Committee members Mary Janet Allen Wells, Charlotte Bennett Wells, and Wanda Ayers Burns did a fantastic job with refreshments, name tags, and door prizes, and gave all a friendly Linden welcome.
President Sam Higdon welcomed everyone, presented certificates to Charter Members, introduced Directors, and reiterated the importance of the Foundation. From Joe B. Lovelace, members and guests learned details of the Firehouse Rescue Fund Campaign.
Sue Morris Lazara spoke about the Request for Proposals for commercial development of Linden’s 1934 Water Tower as well as restoration of the 1939 Firehouse. It was exciting to see LeTourneau University senior engineering student Lucas Allen’s post-restoration rendering of the historic Firehouse.
Historical-restoration architect Ed Sergeant displayed and discussed his conceptual rendering of the restored Water Tower, Firehouse, and surrounding area. His wife Laura joins him in enthusiasm about the Foundation because generations of her family have been Cass County residents.
The Foundation thanks Jo Anna Duncan and Neil Abeles for their expert photography during the evening, and to businesses and individuals who furnished door prizes. Above all, the evening would have been impossible without the Linden Heritage Foundation Charter Members whose valuable support is important now and in the future. The Foundation is also grateful to our Parliamentarian, Kay Temple Stephens, for preparing this summary of the Reception.