published Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Historic North Chattanooga fire hall sold

Tommy Austin, property owner who started a historical restoration of the 1935 North Chattanooga Firehall, leads a tour of his property, which is up for sale.
Tommy Austin, property owner who started a historical restoration of the 1935 North Chattanooga Firehall, leads a tour of his property, which is up for sale.
Photo by Dan Henry.

Q. Whatever happened to the historic North Chattanooga fire hall that was up for sale in June?

A. It was sold Sept. 16 to a local couple who plans to move in and use the old fire station as a home.

The old No. 12 Fire Hall at 880 Forest Ave. was built in 1929 and used until 1997, when a new station was built down the road. After it closed, it was used for storage until real estate agent Tommy Austin acquired it in a trade with the city in 2010.

He carefully restored the exterior of the building and put it on the market. He thought it could be used as a home or live-at-home business, while some firefighters hoped it could be turned into a museum.

The couple paid $275,000 for the historic structure, and Austin said he's happy the fire hall will be repurposed as a home.

"I think it's the highest and best use," he said.

Countless firefighters lived and worked in the 3,500-square-foot brick building during its 68-year run -- it even earned a reputation for being haunted. Firefighters remember hearing footsteps when no one was walking, and drawers and doors would creak open by themselves.

At some point, someone cut a notch in the old station's bifold doors so the newer model fire engines could fit inside -- the space was built for the much smaller engines of the 1930s, not the modern engines of the 1990s.

Now the old doors will open for a family instead of a firetruck.

This update was written by staff writer Shelly Bradbury. Contact her at sbrad bury@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525. To suggest a topic for Whatever Happened To, email news@timesfreepress.com

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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