Bridging the Past & the Future
The Houston Fire Museum’s greatest “artifact” is its physical home. Housed in historic Fire Station No. 7, it was the city’s first station built specifically for Houston’s original paid fire department in 1899. The building, fondly called “Old 7’s,” is Houston’s oldest historic fire station still standing. In 1986 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1988.
It has been years since any preservation or restoration work has been completed within the historic firehouse. The building is in urgent need of repair. Structural problems, such as interior and exterior wall cracks, and water intrusion, threaten the landmark with decay. The building’s iconic façade holds many issues that need to be addressed to preserve the historical architecture for future generations. Additionally, the visitor experience was hindered by accessibility issues, no centralized air conditioning system, and non-ADA-compliant restrooms. Due to these conditions, the useum could no longer accommodate visitors safely and comfortably.
In partnership with REPRACTICE architecture, Tellepsen Builders, and D/G Studios, the Trustees of the Houston Fire Museum have developed a plan to restore and preserve “Old 7’s,” while also enhancing indoor spaces to support innovative, educational, and community programming, as well as developing a Museum Exhibit Masterplan.
Old 7’s – Bridging the Past & the Future Capital Campaign has been established to raise the $8,000,000 project goal. The Museum is grateful and honored to have Camden Property Trust as our lead donor, generously donating $1,000,000 towards the campaign.
The Museum is seeking contributions from its members and the Houston community in support of the historic preservation and museum enhancements. Working together, “Old 7’s” will be further restored to its former glory and continue to reflect the pride of our city and the Houston Fire Department.
May we count on you to support this important preservation project? Please consider making a gift that will enable the Houston Fire Museum and its legacy to continue for years to come.
All gifts are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.
Please contact Kate Ryther Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
What's So Special About These Bricks?
The original handmade brick used in the construction of “Old 7’s” came from Cedar Bayou Brick in Baytown, a facility that has long since been closed. The bricks were made using two parts topsoil, one part clay, and water from their namesake: Cedar Bayou. In the late 1800s the bricks were transported across the bay on schooners, and were often delivered to building sites using mule-drawn wagons.
The exterior of “Old 7’s” was covered in stucco in the 1930s; one of the preservation goals is to remove the stucco and showcase the original Cedar Bayou brick. This aspect of the restoration will be challenging and costly as it requires the stucco to be chiseled off by hand to properly preserve the brick. The north and south walls have been restored, and efforts will soon commence on the front of the building. The cost of this portion of the preservation is $712,500.
The Museum is fortunate to have several of its original windows. The masonry surrounding the windows needs to be repaired, and the windows also need to be restored. The lead architect for the Houston Fire Museum’s restoration project was able to locate a stockpile of original Cedar Bayou bricks. The windows will be removed and taken off-site for restoration. The bricks surrounding the windows that can be saved will be repointed, and those that are damaged will be replaced with bricks from the found stockpile.