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Franklinton Fire Station Acquired by Columbus Historical Society

Brent Warren Brent Warren Franklinton Fire Station Acquired by Columbus Historical SocietyPhoto by Walker Evans.
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An organization devoted to chronicling the city’s history plans to set up shop in a building that has been around for a lot of it.

The Columbus Historical Society announced the week that it has purchased the former fire station at 540 W. Broad St. The organization held an event at the historic building yesterday to commemorate the transfer of the property.

Completed in 1882 and known as Engine House No. 6 until 1966, the building was home to Jimmy Rea Electronics from 1974 until 2014. The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority bought the building when it was developing the adjacent Franklin Station, which provides supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness.

A 2016 plan from Heritage Ohio to renovate the building and use it for its offices never came to fruition, and CHS has been raising funds to buy the former station since early 2020. City and state grants, as well as donations from individuals and foundations, went toward the $700,000 purchase price.

Additional money will need to be raised to renovate the structure. Plans call for exhibit space and possibly a cafe and gift shop on the first floor, which could also be used for events. The second floor would hold office space for CHS and a library, while the basement level could hold an archive.

The renovated building would be the first permanent home for the organization, which was established in 1990 and is currently leasing office and exhibit space at 717 W. Town St. on a temporary basis from Mount Carmel Health Systems. Previously, the organization used a portion of COSI’s first floor for its offices and to display exhibits.

Earlier this year, the city gave two other nearby historic structures to CHS – the Harrison house at 570 W. Broad St. (built in 1807), and the Sullivant land office behind it (built in 1822). The organization is hopeful the three structures together can help create “the beginning of a Columbus historic district that can become a destination,” according to a press release.

Just to the east and across the street from the Engine House, Kaufman Development recently announced plans for a third phase of its Gravity development.

More information on the renovation project and on CHS is available here.

Renderings on the CHS website show the renovated building.
A rendering of the building’s second floor after renovation.
Another view of the building as it looks today, photo by Walker Evans.
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