Houghton Fire Hall

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Houghton Fire Hall
Houghton Fire Hall.jpg
Fire hall in March 2012; addition at left
Houghton Fire Hall is located in Michigan
Houghton Fire Hall
Location404 East Montezuma Avenue, Houghton, Michigan[1][a]
Coordinates47°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
Architectural styleItalianate
Part ofShelden Avenue Historic District (#87002154)
Significant dates
Designated CPDecember 30, 1987
Designated MSHSAugust 6, 1976[1]

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. The building is listed as a Michigan State Historic Site and is a contributing property of the Shelden Avenue Historic District.


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] On December 30, 1987, the Shelden Avenue Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with the fire hall as a contributing property.[11] 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.[12] The western addition became vacant in October 2011 when the auto supply store moved to a new location.[9][13]


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 h Staff. "Houghton Fire Hall". State Historic Preservation Office. State Housing Development Authority. Archived from the original on June 17, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Nordberg, Jane (April 17, 2007). "Project targets historic landmark". The Daily Mining Gazette. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. 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. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. 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. Archived from the original on December 30, 2017. 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. ^ Christensen & Snyder 1987, pp. 1, 9.
  12. ^ Neese, Garrett (February 13, 2012). "Houghton club opens its doors". The Daily Mining Gazette. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  13. ^ "Your one-stop auto parts shop". The Daily Mining Gazette. December 14, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2012.


External links[edit]