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115-Year-Old Fire Station Number One Sees New Life With Sept. 23 Open House

One of the most famous and beloved structures in Downtown Roanoke is the iconic Fire Station Number One at the southern end of the Downtown Farmers’ Market. Built in 1907 when the irrepressible Theodore Roosevelt (R) occupied the White House, what was then the state-of-the-art firehouse saw 100 years of service and followed by 15 years of vacancy. Now, giving the historic structure a new lease on life, Txtur & Old School Partners have announced the grand opening of Fire Station One that will now house a furniture showroom, bistro, and boutique hotel.

One charming aspect of the pre-automobile age structure is that some of the original bricks on the interior walls are partially concave. During the early years when Roanoke still used horse-drawn fire engines, the steeds were stabled inside, awaiting the next call.  While there, they sometimes licked the salt content from the bricks, thus creating the worn-away portions.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 10am on Friday, September 23rd, 2022. Mayor Sherman Lea (D) and the project managers will speak to commemorate the achievement. The ceremony will be followed by an all-day open house, including musical entertainment, local food trucks, and more. Festivities will conclude at 8pm.

Fire Station One is located at 13 Church Ave, SE, Roanoke VA 24011.

The charming Fire Station One was once the site of an event that made national headlines. While campaigning for re-election on July 13, 2012, President Obama (D) made a campaign stop in Roanoke and used the historic Fire Station as his backdrop. In one controversial part of his remarks, President Obama claimed, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.”

Many entrepreneurs and business owners viewed that as an insult, showing the president did not appreciate the diligence, planning and risk-taking that goes into launching and running a business.

In contrast, the president’s supporters claimed that one part was quoted out of context, that President Obama was praising the American system of working together. For reference, here are the two paragraphs in question, and the president actually referred to fire-fighting:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

     The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires. 

The reopening of Fire Station One will be an event that punctuates Roanoke’s past and future. The renovation of Fire Station One was a large undertaking, but many contributed to accomplish it – bringing many elements of the building back to their previous glory, while modernizing its code and amenities. This event marks a new chapter in the career of this national landmark, and a new era in the downtown Roanoke scene.

Fire Station One will house the flagship retail gallery of Txtur, a Roanoke-based furniture manufacturer. Txtur domestically crafts made-to-order, direct-to-consumer furniture while offering a unique take on true sustainability.

The 7,000 square foot showroom will include a designated space to sit with furniture experts and configure custom made-to-order pieces crafted less than two miles away. The building will also include a Nordic-inspired bistro called Stock that will focus on fresh, regional ingredients and fine wines. The bistro will include a bar, open kitchen, and oasis-like courtyard. Stock is scheduled to open in November. Lastly, the second floor will house Fire Station One Boutique Hotel, a seven-room hotel and ballroom. Each of the seven rooms will have an individual style that is luxuriously rendered in Txtur products. The ballroom was transformed from the antique locker room once occupied by Fire Company One, and will act as an event space and lounge.

Old School Partners is a Roanoke development firm that specializes in redevelopment of cherished historic properties.

The public is invited to participate in the festivities on Friday, September 23rd, 2022, 10am to 8pm to share in this exciting accomplishment.

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Development lead Dale Wilkinson – Wilkinson Group. Contact 540-293-0875 or thewilkinsongroupinc.com. Architecture by Hill Studios – David Hill Principal. General Contractor Construction Unlimited – Greg Rhodes Principal.

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