East End station gets new owner
With all volunteer fire operations and trucks now located at Catasauqua’s municipal complex, the East End fire station, 512 Race St., became available for sale. Vincent Smith picked up the option to buy it at a closed bid auction held in December.
“We hoped to close before the end of the year, but there were legal complications that delayed the closing,” he said.
The station was owned by East End Hose and Chemical Company, which rented the garage to the fire department.
“I remember it as a place where members would get together socially, playing cards and socializing,” Smith said. “I went there a few times when I was younger, and most of us who grew up in Catasauqua stopped in at some point.”
The social club disbanded nearly two years ago. There was little activity in the preceding years.
Once the firetrucks were scheduled to move to the new municipal complex on Bridge Street, the club’s source of income was cut back. As the end approached for the venerable social club, there was only enough in the treasury to cover the remaining insurance payments and the light bill. The social club turned the building over to the fire department.
The brick exterior looks acceptable, and Smith intends to retain the character of the building.
“I want to keep the stone sign that designates it as the East End No. 1,” he said.
Beyond the exterior, Smith does not have definite plans.
“I intend to keep it as a warehouse for now and see what develops in the area. There are all kinds of possibilities,” he said.
One reason for the delay is the interior is in bad shape. There are leaks in the basement walls and the ceiling. The water created a mold problem and ruined most of the social room. The chimney also leaks, and the furnace is faulty. Smith took some preventive measures to stop the water damage.
“It fits into my plan of trying to preserve some of the historical buildings in Catasauqua. The buildings I have along Front Street were all part of the Crane Iron Works at one time,” Smith said.
He is projecting turning the building around in two to three years.