Efforts Underway to Preserve Historic N.C. Firehouse

July 28--It's easy to ignore.

In a city brimming with historic properties that have seen better days, the brick structure bearing the title of "Hose Co. No. 2" -- standing between the Lunch Box convenience store and East Caswell Street on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard -- can be passed dozens of times without a second glance.

But Guy Basden, former Kinston firefighter and local historian, is looking to change that. As a firefighter from 1960-1975, he worked out of what was once called the Tiffany Street Station and would like to tie it to historic preservation efforts already underway at Caswell No. 1 Fire Station Museum on North Queen Street.

"I would like the opportunity to give that some landmark distinction," Basden said. "I'd like to honor (the late Kinston Fire) Chief (Tony) Kelly and our first two professional black firefighters."

Kinston didn't go to a fully-professional fire service until the 1950s, but the No. 2 fire station served East Kinston residents for decades beforehand -- Basden dates the structure to at least the 1930s.

In the 1962 community facilities plan drawn up for the Kinston City Council, the Tiffany Street Station figured prominently not only as one of three fire stations in the city, but also as a hub for county firefighters.

"Fire protection in the Kinston Planning Area is furnished by the Kinston Fire Department, which serves the city and Caswell Training School, and the Lenoir County Fire Department which serves the county," the plan said. "The Kinston Fire Department operates out of three stations located at city hall, on Herritage Street and on Tiffany Street.

"The county fire department operates two trucks out of the Tiffany Street Station."

Further the facilities plan detailed, "The Number Two Station on Tiffany Street has a complement of 16 men and three trucks. Of this complement, six men and two trucks are supported by the county for the protection of property in the county but receive training and miscellaneous services from the city."

At present, the New Beginnings Outreach Center occupies the property, though it's still owned by the city.

"I certainly don't want to disrupt anything they're doing," Basden said. "But, I'm going to present it formally to the city government and see what we can do with it."

Wes Wolfe can be reached at 252-559-1075 and Wes.Wolfe@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter @WolfeReports.

Copyright 2014 - The Free Press, Kinston, N.C.

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