Hawkinsville to Preserve Old Firehouse as Museum | News
A Hawkinsville firehouse built in the early 1900s has caught the attention of those who want to preserve history.
The building is no longer in use, but its doors could reopen for a new purpose.
Karen Bailey, Director of Hawkinsville Main Street, says the old building was abandoned in the 1960s, but not forgotten about.
Recently, the old firehouse was named a "Place of Peril" in Georgia.
The honor was given by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, making the firehouse one of 10 historic places in the state to be recognized.
"The fire chief and his family lived upstairs in the building. So, not only is the architecture significant to the community, the use itself is significant to the community," said Bailey.
Bailey says the recognition will help Hawkinsville Main Street progress an idea that's been in the works for years.
An 1830s fire engine, that some Hawkinsville residents call Katie, could find a home in the old firehouse.
"Katie was named after the fire chief's daughter at the time," Bailey explained. "We would love to have this as a museum for Katie, and as a public space to be used for receptions and any type of meetings and programs."
Bailey says talk of the museum landed a deal with the city 3 years ago to use $75,000 of SPLOST money to renovate the building.
She says partnerships with the Middle Georgia Regional Commission, the University of Georgia's Archway program, and an architectural firm is helping move the idea from conception to reality.
Bailey says more recognition could ensure more sources for funding.
"Having that 'Places in Peril' designation not only puts the emphasis on it locally, but also from the state of Georgia to say this is an important resource that is historic. We need to preserve and protect it," she said.
Bailey says there's lots of money and time needed to restore the old building. The next step involves applying for funds to renovate the building.
Bailey says they won't have a timeline to complete the museum until funding is secured.