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Chilliwack's 1949 Fire Hall

posted by: The Royal Hotel Chilliwack on: October 09, 2019 12:52:50 PM

A crowd of five hundred Chilliwack residents enjoyed ice cream and live music at the grand opening of Fire Hall #1 at the corner of Young Road and Victoria Avenue on June 22, 1949, reported the Chilliwack Progress Newspaper (June 29, 1949).

Chilliwack Progress, June 1949

The new fire hall, according to then provincial deputy fire marshall B. Nixon, was the most modern fire hall of its size in B.C.;  built for the sum of $50,000. The Vancouver based architectural firm Townley and Matheson designed the mid-century building, after completing their previous commission, Chilliwack’s Paramount Theatre.

The hall was built to hold three fire trucks on the main floor with the upper story housing a recreation room, dormitory for five firefighters, bathroom, kitchen and a caretaker’s suite. Access to the fire trucks and equipment on the first floor was quickly reached by a brass fire pole.

Image Credit: Chilliwack Museum & Archives

Built in the late-modernist style, the two storey brown and cream concrete building served the community as a fire hall until 2004, when a new, larger fire hall was built further south on Young.

CHP Architects, a local architectural firm, was seeking new office space as they were outgrowing their quarters, at the time a heritage home in the downtown area.   As the fire hall was originally slated for destruction to allow for the expansion of an adjacent parking lot, purchasing and rehabilitating the building seemed a logical option for all parties.

After an assessment of the building, it was decided to re-purpose the entire upper floor for their architectural firm. The downstairs was re-configured into office space and was formerly the home of the Chilliwack Business Improvement Association.
The exterior of the fire hall still retains the look and feel of the original space, including the doors for the fire trucks on the main level.

The old fire hall is an excellent example of adaptive re-use in the context of heritage conservation and continues to serve as a reminder of Chilliwack’s past.

CHP Architects Office
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