Central Fire Hall
Reason for Designation
Welland City Council purchased a parcel of land at the northeast corner of Division Street and Hellems Avenue in 1919 for a new Fire Hall. The building was designed by Walter W. LaChance, with the only other known local building attributed to him being the Empire Cotton Mills’ office. The tender for construction was awarded to the Gardner Construction Company of Welland in 1919 for $43,851. The Fire Hall was completed in 1920.
The Central Fire Hall is a unique example of early twentieth century Edwardian Classical style while still incorporating the prominent features of the “old time” red brick fire stations of the late 1800’s. The most unusual elements of its design are its basilica plan, a rectangle with hexagonal ‘apse’ at either end and its siting at a 45 degree angle across the property.
The post 1900 Edwardian Classical revival is manifested in the building’s stylized and exaggerated classical elements such as the high stone plinth (base), ornamental stone blocks on the first floor, the slight projections on the second floor anchored on either side by decorative base stones, and the wide stone keystone and two flanking stone voussoirs which highlight the round headed third storey windows. Also, Edwardian features include the parapeted gables of the building’s central block, the use of brick with stone trim, the large sash windows and doors of the first floor surmounted by rectangular transoms and the overhanging roof eave supported by cantilever. The building features a high brick drying tower fitted with a four faceted clock and a Greek acroterion, resembling old fashioned fire helmets, above each of the four dormers.
Noteworthy interior features include twin oak staircases, portions of the original tin ceiling, 1 ¼ inch hardwood flooring on the second floor, the two brass fire poles with original security gates and the metal ceiling at the top of the stairs on the third floor.