yours and mine -- procrastination rules!


the excursion

so this is the long awaited (and long) tale of my fieldtrip (or excursion as my accomplice dubbed it), but first the background. the bibliophile has been known to send me a library book or two that she feels that i would enjoy, and i have never been happier about it. i'm actually not looking forward to having to turn this one in; i want to keep it. it's full of fabulous pictures and tells me where all the firehouses in evansville ever were. so, after a fair dose of internet research, i bribed the apathetic one with red lobster and we headed out with my two pages of notes from the book and her digital camera. so, here's the rundown of all the firehouses, including info from the book, the internet and our trip. some locations from before the fire department became official, especially those that were temporary or not specified in the book have been omitted.

#1 - forgetting a bit of number trading very early on, hose house #1/headquarters was originally located on 3rd between walnut and locust, right next to city hall (this is the firehouse, i just wanted to show how awesome city hall was, although you can see the firehouse in the picture if you know what to look for) from 1887 until 1971. now a parking garage sits on the location of both of those buildings and several others on the block. we walked over to see it while we were having gelato, it being right behind the gelato place. i vented mightily. yes, i love old firehouses, but it pains me a lot more that we've replaced the splendor that was city hall with a parking garage. we've replaced a lot of old buildings (this, igleheart brothers' flour mill, one of the old theaters, etc.) with parking garages. but why won't people go downtown? no parking. because they're too good to use a parking garage; they want a big ugly barren lot, right in front of where they're going.

in 1971, house #1 was moved to it's present location on the corner of 8th and gum. i drive past it almost every time i go to the library. it screams "built in the 70's."

#2 - it was on vine between 2nd and 3rd from 1887 until 1942, at which time the number was taken out of service and the building was used as a USO during WWII. i don't know which side of the street it was on, but either way it's a parking lot. i missed catching what businesses the lots belong to. in 1988, #2 was reinstated at it's present location, off lynch on maxx road.

#3 - finally one that's still there. on the corner of 4th and indiana, this is the one that now houses local 357 of the international association of firefighters, the firefighter union hall basically. i really love that they're using an old hose house for that. this was a working firehouse from 1895-1955, and was the largest in the state when it was built. oh yeah, and that's the back of it. yep, the indiana side is actually the back, although aside from a bell tower the original front and back looked really similar. the thing is that the front's not exactly there anymore. see, as you may recall from the post where my parents found this one, it was (and the address still is) on pennsylvania, and now the lloyd expressway is where pennsylvania used to be. and it seems that it sat a bit too close to the street to accommodate the much wider expressway. luckily, instead of just tearing it down, they seem to have shortened it. the lloyd side is rather unassuming with just a regular door and brick that matches what's been used to fill the original windows and bay doors. this explains why i'd driven by it so many times and not noticed it. the book makes up for the bibliophile knowing it was there and not telling me.

in 1955, number three was moved to the old farmers market building. in 1979 it moved again to the corner of 4th and franklin, just a couple of blocks north of it's original location, where it still is.

#4 - the "old hose house #4" that i found on the list of registered historic places, on ingle between 6th and 7th, was built for the crescent fire company (a volunteer company) in 1858. it was then used by another volunteer company, the jackson fire company, before being taken over by the evansville fire department in 1874. there's a picture of it in the book and it was a rather unassuming building, but being historically recognized and all, it's a little disappointing that it was torn down in 1994, and is now a parking lot.

from 1897 until 1962 #4 was on the corner of illinois and baker, a scant block from my mom's old office on north main. it has also been torn down. it's amazingly not a parking lot, just a vacant lot, although in theory you could park on what's left of the old concrete floor. that location wasn't a total letdown though, because the old alarm and dispatch station that sat behind the firehouse on baker is still there (the empty lot you see next to it is where the firehouse was). i have no idea who owns it or if they're doing anything at all with it, but it appears to be in good shape. plus we saw the oddest sight just down the alley, but you'll have to wait until after the firehouse rundown for that picture.

in 1962, #4 moved to it's present location on oak hill road.

#5 - much like the original #4, the first #5 was built in the 1850's for a volunteer company, in this case the ben franklin fire company, and was taken over by the evansville fire department in 1874 (although at that time they were also volunteer, until becoming an official fire department in 1888). used until 1894, it was on locust between 7th and 8th. again i don't know what side of the street, by where it used to be is either the centre or the civic center. it is definitely quite gone, and doesn't even get to be pictured in the book.

when the original house closed the number was taken out of service until 1907 when a new firehouse #5 was built on the corner of st. joe and michigan. it was in operation until 1988, and when it closed, "it marked the closure of the last hose house with a fire pole in the city." it's still there and i know you all know this one; it's down by the fall festival. it's currently for sale, and i'd LOVE to have it, but even if i won the lottery i'm not sure i'd shell out what they're asking for it.

the new building built in 1988 is the current home of #5, on the corner of maryland and st. joe.

#6 - built in 1875 to protect the new "elite" haynies corner area, the original #6 was used until 1962 and was located on powell street near 8th. oh, and by the way, IT'S STILL THERE! this is actually the only firehouse i found because of the book that hasn't been torn down. i wanted so badly to find an old picture of what it looked like when it was still being used, since it looks so different, but i can't find any on the internet and i can't scan the ones in the book since my scanner isn't compatible with my computer and the computer it is compatible with doesn't have a working disc drive. it was notably taller, with an intricate roof line (and i think it had a flat roof instead of a gable.) there was a huge bay window on the front, and an inset where the door and bay door were. the only way i was sure it was the same building is from the designs in the brick. it seems to currently be a commercial garage.

the second #6, like the first, was placed to protect an expanding area of the city. it's on washington near arcadian acres.

#7 - the first #7, in use from 1875 to 1886, like the first #5 doesn't actually have a picture in the book. while i can't say what it looked like, i can say that it was on the corner of wabash and franklin, meaning that depending on what corner of the intersection it was on it's either been replaced by one of two strip malls, a commercial garage or some of the park that surrounds west branch library.

in 1886 it moved to the corner of 9th and illinois, where it stayed until the annexation of howell (around 1918). again the building is gone and i don't know which corner it was on. i don't think it was where the commercial garage is because that's not the original ground floor of the fire house (general shape is off and window and door placement isn't right) but that building looks old enough to have been there already by the time the firehouse shut down. that leaves a rundown parking lot or an ugly modern warehouse building.

with the annexation of howell #7 was moved to cover that area. they used the building previously used by the howell volunteer company until their new building was built in 1921 on dearborn. you may notice i haven't mentioned this one, but i said #6 was the only one i didn't know about before. my mother told me this one was still there, and i'd seen an old picture of it, but i hadn't seen it or even been able to get a modern picture of it (because the pic on the assessor's site doesn't work), and i didn't want to write a post about a building when i couldn't even say what it currently looked like. in fact, i knew about this one before the original post about firehouses. i learned about it the same time i did #15, but unlike that one, it's never on the way to swing past this one and look. the only time i'm ever in howell is when i used to take the howell bus home from college some days, and it doesn't go down dearborn. anyway, this was the first hose house in evansville built for mechanized fire trucks. also, there was a library in the upper story until 1936, when a new building was built for the branch (redbank i guess, since west is much older and not so far west). and yes, that's slate on the upper part; very pretty. it's gorgeous in person, much better than the picture shows.

#8 - yet another firehouse that i've already talked about, the first #8 was in use from 1878 until 1955 and is located on the corner of columbia and 3rd. this is the one with the outcroppings on the sides of the front, a trashy liquor store across the street, and a bus stop right out front. it was for sale in late 2005 but it never sold.

in 1955 #8 moved to it's present location on the corner of keck and north kentucky. this is the only current firehouse not built for that purpose and also not built in the last 50 years. it has been remodeled and was used as an ordinance plant during WWII, which explains why it has 2 foot thick concrete walls.

#9 - located on the corner of olive and governor, this hose house was used from 1880-1970, when it was closed and basically combined with #1. it was built to protect "working class residents of [the] southeast part of the city," which just goes to show how much the city has grown in the last 127 years. that's well west of 41 and barely south of the lloyd. i also learned what made a picture of this house relevant to "black hoosier heritage" (if you remember that from another post). from 1895 until 1968 the evansville fire department was segregated by race, and this is the hose house where all the black firefighters worked. mind you, they went to the same fires as the other stations and fought those fires alongside the white guys, but they all worked at one house. of course, it's not there anymore. if olive used to go through, then it might be part of the courier-press parking lot now. if not, it's some other parking lot or a icky modern industrial/commercial building that i think has a heating and air business in it.

in 1989, #9 was reinstated and now is located on keystone street.

#10 - another firehouse on columbia, this one on the corner of heidelbach, old #10 was used from 1889 until 1977. it's still there, and i think i may have seen a band play there once (little help remembering from someone else who was there: is that the one?) it's replacement is located directly across the street.

#11 was never used for a local firehouse because it sounds too much like 7 for dispatch purposes.

#12 - located on the corner of 1st avenue and eichel from 1908 to 1974, #12 was built on land purchased and donated by businesses in the area so that a firehouse could be built to protect their factories. when it was closed, no replacement was built. the number was taken out of service and has not been reused as of yet. at some point it was used by bassemier's, and it currently appears to be a music business of some kind although the front door says use the side door and the side door says knock for deliveries, so i guess if it's a store it's currently closed.

#13 was also never used, because it's an "unlucky" number.

#14 - located on willow road near lincoln, #14 was built in 1928. the original building was torn down and replaced by the current building in 1982.

#15 - the first hose house #15, the "park hose house," is located on the corner of grand and washington and was used from 1909 to 1962. they launched rescue boats from the second story during the infamous flood of '37. what was an upscale neighborhood when this building was constructed has deteriorated into the ghetto. i think i've made it clear how i feel about the addition the building is now sporting, which has been used as a laundry, but is now a barber shop. the author of the book was as confused as i am by why #15 was used before #14.

the current #15 is on weinbach just south of cass, which is a few streets south of covert. some of the guys used to walk to my previous job at the gas station to buy drinks and lottery tickets.

#16 - this is the one near my house, on washington and villa. it was originally built in 1950, but like #14 was raised to make room for a new firehouse, this one in 1998. i remember the old building, and while it wasn't really anything special i did find it more attractive than it's replacement.

#17 - the only company still using it's original hose house, #17 is on mill road and has been since 1965. like all the current firehouses, i'm sure it's quite good from a utilitarian standpoint, but aesthetically it leaves something to be desired.

talk about a code violation - your eyes do not deceive you; that is a room addition over an alley, and no it is not connected to the green building, that building is well past it. this is what we saw by the alarm station. unless we're talking about one really long house, i think it's most likely attached to a garage. we didn't go up the alley for a closer inspection, but it's supported by wooden posts (like a deck would be) across the alley. and yes that car is parked under it. in case this has given you some strange idea, don't do it. i promise you this was built with no permits, because you would never get the go-ahead to build anything on or above a public easement. my brother recommended turning it in to the city, but i figure whoever did it will learn better when he can never sell his house, or when it falls on his car, whichever comes first.

anybody know what this thing is? - so, because my normal bus home from college was combined with the howell to make one route after a certain time of day, i used to take a different ride home on days i had night class. this route involved crossing the lloyd at fulton, and i noticed an odd little building near there, which it turns out is on the corner of illinois. in the dark from a bus all i could tell was that it was small and brick with a tile roof. i thought maybe it was an outbuilding for some old factory that had been torn down or something. since we were in the area i decided to check it out. this was the first time i had ever seen it in daylight, and i think i'm even more confused now. my dad says it was the building for a used car lot several decades ago, but he has no idea what it was before that. the most common suggestion is a very old gas station, although my mom also wonders if it could have been a guard shack for a factory.

the best you can expect, i guess - the day after our original outing we made a mini excursion to find this historic marker, after i got directions from my brother who found it back in his sig school days. we decided to track it down after we saw the plaque identifying a parking garage as the location of the igleheart flour mill. in case you're having trouble reading it, it says that this is the original homesite of robert m. evans, the man our lovely city was named after. where might you ask is this located? right here. the red circle is added to indicate the exact location of the plaque because i know the picture is a little dark. so, the location of our namesake's house has been given a little alley-like park downtown. in the way of further explaining where this is, we're standing in a parking lot right behind the old central library building (now the children's museum) and the other end of the park opens onto the part of main street i will probably always call "the walkway." how i never found this when we were out and about during sig school i can't say.

one more thing from the book. a description of the trouble they had fighting a fire there at 23 degrees below zero and the pictures after of it covered in ice got my mother wondering about the upstage dinner theater. with a little help from my accomplise's mother i found the parking lot where it used to be and i was able to find out for my mother what it used to be before becoming a theater: the elks home (as in the club/organization). the porch was gone by it's dinner theater days.

well, it only took three days to put together, but i think this post is long enough, and i hope you enjoy it since i made you wait so long.



coming right a day or so

as you can see, i've switched to new blogger. so, why no new firehouse post, you ask? because i'm tired and i need sleep. it's sitting in my account as a draft, and i'm going to be really optimistic and say it's half done. i did warn you it was going to be long, right?

there's a taste for you. a stone medallion from #12, and yes that buildings needs tuck-pointed something fierce.


happy birthday

no, not the blog. that's next month i think. this is for two of my good friends. today, well technically yesterday since it's after midnight, one turned 27, and the other turned 28 saturday. so if either of you see this, you're awesome and i miss you. and for the one of you who is no longer living in another state, and also more likely to see this: call me sometime so we can hang out. you've been back like 3 months and the only time i've seen you is at thanksmas, and i've got a birthday present for you.

for everyone who hasn't had a birthday this weekend: i like you, too. and if it's been a while since we've hung out, you're also welcome to call me so we can rectify the situation.

also, expect a new post after my research fieldtrip tuesday. just as soon after as i feel like switching over to new blogger. if you're dreading reading another long post about old buildings, a) blame the bibliophile for sending me a book about them and b) too freaking bad.



cupid is coming... hide your valuables

there are a number of things i've been meaning to post about for a while now, but i'm not going to. instead, i present you with my thoughts on valentines day.

now, i'm down with the concept of a holiday for romance. a nice excuse to take your significant other out for dinner and whatnot. hell, candy and flowers would be nice, if they hadn't been inflated to like 4 times their normal price just for the occasion. but some of the valentine's crap is just that. here are a few examples, provided by commercials that seem to be running non-stop at this point.

pajama-gram. you can send your lady anything from some sexy lingerie to a nice set of flannels. but how many guys do you really think are buying their wives something as sensible and utilitarian as a nice new set of flannel jammies, as opposed to the number who are plunking down serious cash for an outfit that is uncomfortable and serves no purpose beyond making him horny? that's not a gift for their girl, it's for themselves. guys, save some cash and just fuck her naked.

vermont teddy bears. in the commercial all the girls in an office are oooing and aahing over the "love bandit" teddy bear one of them got. not only is this pretty damned corny, but somewhere not too prominent this commercial will tell you that these bears cost $80. yes, 80 freaking dollars. i don't know about most women, but if some guy ever bought me an $80 teddy bear, i would bash him in the head with something heavy for being such an idiot.

and no, i'm not down on this stuff because i'm single, but because i'm sane. how much more would a little romance from your partner mean if it was "just because" instead of because it was that time of year again.