Houghton Fire Hall

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Houghton Fire Hall
Houghton Fire Hall.jpg
Fire hall in March 2012; addition at left
Location 404 East Montezuma Avenue, Houghton, Michigan[1][a]
Coordinates 47°07′17″N 88°34′06″W / 47.1213°N 88.5683°W / 47.1213; -88.5683Coordinates: 47°07′17″N 88°34′06″W / 47.1213°N 88.5683°W / 47.1213; -88.5683
Built 1883
Architectural style(s) Italianate
Governing body Private
Designated August 6, 1976
Houghton Fire Hall is located in Michigan
Houghton Fire Hall
Location of Houghton Fire Hall in Michigan

The Houghton Fire Hall, officially called the Continental Fire Company Building,[2] is a former fire station at the corner of Huron St. and Montezuma Ave. in Houghton, Michigan.[1] Built in 1883, it was the original home of the Michigan Mining School and is a Michigan State Historic Site.


The Continental Fire Company organized in 1860 in Houghton.[3] The department's first fire hall was built in 1861 along the waterfront near the site of the modern-day Portage Lake Lift Bridge.[2]

The fire hall circa 1900

The new fire hall was built in 1883[3] and its bell was cast in 1884[4] by Centennial Bell Foundry, G. Campbell & Sons, Milwaukee Wis. The Continental Fire Company occupied the basement, which housed horses, and the main floor, which stored fire engines.[2] Village offices were on the second floor.[3] The Michigan Mining School, now Michigan Technological University, held its first classes on the second floor and in the basement from 1886 through May 1889.[1][5][6][7] In the early 1900s, the building was extended to the north to store more oats and hay for the horses.[2] In 1916, an addition was built on the western side to store two more fire engines.[3]

The city moved its offices out of the fire hall in the 1930s.[3] On August 5, 1966, a bronze plaque was unveiled commemorating the building as the original home of the university.[8] In 1974, the fire department moved to a new, more centrally located fire hall along Sharon Avenue in order to accommodate larger modern equipment.[3][9] The fire bell was removed in October 1975 and transferred to the new location.[4] The western addition was sold and became an auto supply store.[10]

The fire hall was listed as a Michigan State Historic Site on August 6, 1976.[1] In 1978, the university purchased the building from the city to use as storage.[9] It was sold in 2010 to a private group who renovated it into an entertainment venue, called the Continental Fire Co., which opened in February 2012.[11] The western addition became vacant in October 2011 when the auto supply store moved to a new location.[9][12]


The fire bell at the current fire station

The fire hall is a flat-roofed, three-story[b] brick structure designed in the Italianate style.[1] The foundation is built of rubble and painted white.[1] A small, four-faced clock tower was originally situated on the cupola at the front of the building.[1][3] The vertical space provided room for fire hoses to hang and dry.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of 2012, the road is named Montezuma Avenue, but was Montezuma Street when listed.
  2. ^ Two stories plus the basement level


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Staff. "Houghton Fire Hall". State Historic Preservation Office. State Housing Development Authority. Retrieved January 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Nordberg, Jane (April 17, 2007). "Project targets historic landmark". The Daily Mining Gazette. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Municipal Houghton". City of Houghton. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Buildings - Houghton Fire Hall". Keweenaw Digital Archives. Michigan Tech Archives. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  5. ^ "History". Michigan Technological University. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Big Michigan Tech Boom Bodes Well for U.P. Growth". The Milwaukee Sentinel. August 26, 1956. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  7. ^ Pattengill, Henry R. (1895). "Fifty-Ninth Annual Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Michigan": 107. 
  8. ^ "Bronze Plaque". Keweenaw Digital Archives. Michigan Tech Archives. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c Neese, Garrett (October 21, 2011). "Renovation of former fire hall progressing". The Daily Mining Gazette. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  10. ^ Nordberg, Erik. "From the Archives: Fire Hall Rises From the Ashes". Michigan Technological University. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  11. ^ Neese, Garrett (February 13, 2012). "Houghton club opens its doors". The Daily Mining Gazette. Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Your one-stop auto parts shop". The Daily Mining Gazette. December 14, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2012.