The Star State Company No. 3, located at 2828 Market Street, was constructed in 1903 and operated as a fire station until it was decommissioned in the 1960s. In 1959, this station became the first in the city to be integrated. While the station is still in its original location, significant exterior alterations have occurred to the building including the removal of decorative features and the application of stucco over the original brickwork. Historic photographs dated between 1948 and 1951, show the fire station without the decorative parapet and balcony over the central door and with a stucco façade.
The building was designated as a Galveston City Landmark in 2007 and had been abandoned and in disrepair for several years prior to Galveston Historical Foundation acquiring the building in 2017. The building structure consisted of a wood structural frame with a brick veneer exterior and a composition roof. After several consultations with architects and engineers, it was decided that the safest treatment of this historic property would be reconstruction. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards offers four distinct approaches to the treatment of historic properties. Reconstruction is one of these Standards. Reconstruction is defined as the act or process of depicting, by means of new construction, the form, features, and detailing of a non-surviving site, landscape, building, structure, or object for the purpose of replicating its appearance at a specific period of time and in its historic location. While reconstruction is not the preferred treatment in encouraging the preservation of our cultural and architectural history, the deterioration of the structure made it unsafe to attempt to save more of the structure.
The construction plan consists of the following phases:
- Phase 1: Brace the front façade—which was the only exterior wall made of structural brick, while demolishing the roof and the west, east, and north façades.
- Phase 2: Re-point and stabilize the front façade from the “interior.” Add new footings for the new structure.
- Phase 3: Construct a steel structural frame in the same footprint as the original building.
- Phase 4: Re-clad brick veneer walls utilizing original salvaged bricks. Window openings will follow original configuration using historic photographs, and documentation done prior to demolition.
- Phase 5: Reconstruct the original parapet wall and roof structure using historic photographs.
ABOUT STAR STATE COMPANY NO. 3
Formed in 1859, Star State Company No. 3 served as the third firehouse for the growing island. The 1900 hurricane, however, destroyed the original firehouse that the city constructed in 1860. The 1903 Firehouse No. 3 replaced the original one in the same location. While the architect is not yet known, the building is a good and rare example of a civic firehouse of the late 19th and early 20th century. It is the only one remaining from the Victorian period on Galveston Island.
Redbrick was used to create polychromatic exterior bands and added cast concrete decorative elements and multi-light windows typical of Victorian architecture. Original photographs show a handsome parapet and a balcony at the center of the principal façade. The 1915 hurricane damaged the building and removed some of the early architectural elements with a concrete facing placed on the building around 1950.
In 1957, Star State Company No. 3 became the first firehouse in the city to integrate with African American firemen. The city continued to use the building as a fire station until it was decommissioned in the 1960s. After its use as a firehouse ended, the city’s water department operated from there until it was later vacated and used for city storage. It was sold to 2828 Market, LLC in 2015 and GHF acquired the building in 2017.
ABOUT GALVESTON HISTORICAL FOUNDATION
Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization formed in 1954 as a non-profit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to encompass community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency and stewardship of historic properties. GHF embraces a broader vision of history and architecture that encompasses advancements in environmental and natural sciences and their intersection with historic buildings and coastal life and conceives of history as an engaging story of individual lives and experiences on Galveston Island from the 19th century to the present day.
What is the current status of this project? We visited it before the roof fell in and the walls were braced. Thank you.
Devin, all construction projects are on hold. We look forward to getting back to this amazing building just as soon as we can. We’ll post updates as things start to happen.
Do you have names of the men who served as firemen? I know my great grandfather drove the horse drawn wagon with the horses named Dolly and Baby or Babe.