Posts Tagged new life for old fire station

Chicago sells old firehouse (more)

Excepts from

This fall, Chicago Filmmakers will make its grand debut at the redeveloped building at 5720 N. Ridge Ave., a historical landmark built in 1928 that was sold to the group for $36,000 in 2014

The Edgewater Historical Society held tours throughout the building earlier this month to give curious neighbors a glimpse into the building recognizable to the many commuters who pass it daily.  Though built in the late 1920s, the building was actually designed to depict an even older firehouse, according to the historical society. 

Outside, work has been done to restore the extensive cream terra cotta, which includes details relating to the building’s firehouse days, as well as its deep red bricks, which once housed Truck Company No. 47 and later Engine Company 59. 

Because of its landmark status, most of its brick and terra cotta exterior was required to be maintained. But inside, the firehouse has nearly completed its transformation into the organization’s new headquarters.

Fresh coats of paint, original glazed brick, a sunlit conference room and classrooms, projection room, box office in the firehouse’s former kitchen and a theater have taken the place of rescue equipment. 

The building will accommodate screenings, events, classes and more.

An adjacent lot where a single-story home once stood will be redeveloped into a garden and green area.

Get a before and after look at the project below.

thanks Dennis

Click the link above to see the photos of the before and after

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New use for old Chicago firehouse

Excerpts from

Work will soon be underway for the $600,000 transformation of the historic 1928 firehouse on Ridge Avenue into a headquarters and movie house for the currently Andersonville-based Chicago Filmmakers, city records show. The total budget to transform the firehouse into Chicago Filmmakers’ new home is $1,000,000.

Permits issued by the city Friday include the construction of a 149-person movie theater, artistic and instructional spaces and offices, the addition of an elevator and exit stairs, plus upgraded plumbing and electrical systems.

Once the firehouse is renovated, the nonprofit film organization would use the building to offer weekly screenings of independent films and documentaries, as well as classes available to the public.

The firehouse was sold to Chicago Filmmakers by the city in 2014 for $36,000, but the group has been focusing on fundraising since to raise the $600,000 necessary for changes.

Initial plans place the main entrance to the building off of the alley, with a concession stand and bathroom built just inside. The existing parking lot on the property includes 15 spaces.

Next door to the firehouse, a recently demolished residential structure is slated to become a park or green space.

thanks Dan

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Chicago sells old firehouse has an article about a former Chicago firehouse being sold for renovation by a filmmaking company.

From firemen to filmmakers. The vacant city-owned firehouse at 5714 N. Ridge Ave., a Chicago Landmark built in 1928 and trimmed in terra cotta, would be sold to Andersonville nonprofit Chicago Filmmakers under a new plan announced by the city.

The city picked the organization — out of a handful of other arts and community groups — to take over and renovate the property.

If approved by the Chicago Plan Commission and City Council, the city would sell the firehouse for $36,000, just 10 percent of its market value, said Chris Chang, a representative of the Department of Housing and Economic Development.

But the Chicago Filmmakers, which offers independent movie screenings, hosts film festivals and teaches film classes, would spend $600,000 renovating the deteriorating the old firehouse that hasn’t had occupants since firefighters moved out in 2003.

“This is a dream for us. We are so thrilled and honored that we were chosen,” said Brenda Webb, the executive director of Chicago Filmmakers, at a meeting with community members living near the firehouse Wednesday night.

She said once the firehouse is renovated the organization would use the building to offer weekly screenings of independent films and documentaries, “the kind of films you would not see at your local megaplex.”

Webb said neighbors can also expect partnerships with nearby schools, two movie festivals and other “experimental, underground and offbeat” programming.

“We want the firehouse to be seen as a community resource,” she said.

If all goes as planned, the city’s sale of the property should be approved by the spring and the construction would begin immediately, Webb said.

The Chicago Filmmakers expect the renovation to take “eight months to a year after acquisition,” she said.

Neighbors have been waiting for years for a new tenant at the firehouse, which has been empty and open to the elements. The search began 10 years ago, and it wasn’t until May that the city issued a request for proposals from groups interested in acquiring vacant firehouses across the city.

Chicago Filmmakers Firehouse Design
Chicago Filmmakers Firehouse Design

An open house earlier in the summer at the firehouse attracted representatives of a brew pub, theater groups and a nursery school.

Sue Morales, the president of the area block club, said the Chicago Filmmakers’ plan would fit the neighborhood well.

The basement and first and second floor of the firehouse would be entirely renovated if the sale is approved, said James Gorski, the Chicago Filmmakers’ architect.

Gorski said the basement would be used mostly for storage. The first floor’s truck bay would be converted into a screening room with as many as 99 seats. The second floor would be used for classrooms.

An elevator would also be added to the building, he said.

The main entrance to the building would be located off of the alley. A concession stand and a bathroom would be built just inside.

The existing parking lot on the property includes 15 spaces.

Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said Chicago Filmmakers was one of two finalists and was chosen over a for-profit arts organization, which he and the city declined to identify.

Webb, the organization’s director, said Chicago Filmmakers was founded 1973 and has spent the past 17 years leasing the second floor of 5243 N. Clark St.

She said she’s had her eye on the firehouse for years. When she first took a look at the firehouse, its basement was discouragingly filled with water.

thanks Dan

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Evanston Fire Department history

From Mike Lopina:

Here is a shot of the former quarters of Evanston Engine 23 at 2504 Green Bay Rd. Not sure when the Station was built but it closed in 1954 when Engine 25 relocated to the new firehouse at 2830 Central (from Station 21) & Engine 23 and Truck 23 relocated to the new firehouse at 1105 Central. 

Mike Lopina


Evanston Fire Department history

Former quarters of Evanston FD Engine 23 prior to 1954. Mike Lopina photo

Former Evanston FD Station's 21 and 22. 22's at 750 Chicago Av became a restaurant, while 21's at 909 Lake St was heavily remodeled into headquarters after being given to the PD for a short time. 


Mike Lopina
Evanston Fire Department history

Former quarters of Evanston FD Engine 23 prior to 1954. Mike Lopina photo

Evanston Fire Department history

Former quarters of Evanston FD Engine 23 prior to 1954. Mike Lopina photo

Evanston Fire Department history

Mike Lopina photo

Evanston Fire Department history

Mike Lopina photo

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Old CFD firehouse to house museum

This from the Chicago Suntimes:

Five years ago, then-Mayor Richard M. Daley turned a South Side firehouse where a racially-divisive retirement party took place into a museum honoring black firefighters.

Monday was Take Two for the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Real Estate.

Aldermen approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to turn Engine 61 — a vacant firehouse at 5349 S. Wabash built in 1929 — into the African-American Firefighter Museum.

The 10-year, $1 lease became necessary after Engine 100, 6843 S. Harper, turned out to be a turkey.

“The building was so old and there was so much work to be done….We were strapped trying to bring the place up to standard,” said museum founder Morris Davis.

Engine 61 will become the museum’s new home, complete with displays, photographs, artifacts and memorabilia honoring contributions made by black firefighters.

The entire article is HERE.

Thanks Bill

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