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Building owner, city officials talk about improving old firehouse

July 23, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

An old firehouse on North Potomac Street that was built in the 1800s was at the center of discussion Thursday among the owner and city officials about plans to improve the structure.

The front of the old Independent Junior Fire Co. has a marquee hanging above the entrance that resembles marquees at old movie theaters, said Steve Bockmiller, development planner for the City of Hagerstown.

It is unclear for what the marquee was used, Bockmiller said.

A slate roof on the building is falling apart and the building's owner, Doug Carroll, wants to repair it, Bockmiller said.

But the marquee will make it difficult to do the work, and Carroll and members of the Hagerstown Historic District Commission discussed removing it during a meeting Thursday at Hagerstown City Hall.

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The marquee probably was put on the building sometime in the 1940s or 1950s, and Hagerstown Historic District Commission member Robert Hershey said it does not match other features of the structure.

No members of the Hagerstown Historic District Commission objected to removing the marquee during a workshop meeting with Carroll, who would have to return to the commission and get formal approval from the board to remove the marquee, Bockmiller said.

Carroll told the commission he hopes to eventually put a cajun cafe in the building and said the structure would be "beautiful for functions."

A historic marker has been placed on the front of the building stating the Independent Junior Fire Co. was formed in 1842. The fire station was built in 1852 and was used as a field hospital during the Civil War, according to the marker.

The fire department now is on Eastern Boulevard.

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