New Station for Company No. 4
by Doug Welch,
Town of Manchester Fire Department Historian and Retired Firefighter

A surprise in the "Capital Improvement Programs" portion of the 1977-1978 town budget was a proposal for a new fire station for Company No. 4 after 60 years to replace the antiquated 1917 station on School Street. The old School Street station was the only one of the Town's firehouses which was not replaced in the 1960s.

The new station was to be designed to also absorb the storage and training activities carried on at the old Spruce Street firehouse. It was to be financed with a bond issue, to be repaid with revenue from fire district taxes. The location for the new station was proposed to be on the east side of South Main Street just south of I-84. A plot of just under an acre was offered to the town for $36,500 and the property could be used in conjunction with an abutting town-owned piece of land. The station construction was estimated at about $300,000.

In a disappointing turn of events, the fire station land purchase failed in May 1977 when the Board of Directors diverted the funds earmarked for the purchase to supplement the fire department budget. Possible layoffs and an impending large increase in fire district taxes caused the action.

As we all know, after nearly eighty years, the aging School Street Station was finally replaced in 1995 by a modern brick facility on Highland Street patterned after the former Buckland Station No. 5. The station was, oddly enough, built on the site of former SMFD Chief James Schaubís home at 105 Highland Street. Chief Schaub served as chief from 1950 to 1953.

December, 2010