A suburban firehouse with an illustrious history is for sale after nine continuous decades of service.
On a spring day in 1924, lightning struck the New York Central depot in the small hamlet Millwood, setting it ablaze. The problem: Millwood didn't have a fire department. Area residents, armed with little in apparatus, attempted to unsuccessfully extinguish the inferno until the nearest ladder company, Chappaqua, could respond from several miles away. The incident became the impetus for creating a new fire district within the increasingly-less rural corner of the county.
From those ashes, Station No. 1 rose on a site provided by the Orser family, descendants of Dutch Colonials who farmed Philipsburg Manor over three centuries ago. Its construction, and the shiny 1924 Brockway LaFrance that still resides there, were paid for from resident donations, with many donating their time and trades to expedite its completion. Phones were wired to ten locations in town to alert firefighters, including Shell and Deems Mobil service stations and the homes of officers, which could trigger the siren at the firehouse. The new Station No. 1 brought peace of mind, and with a replacement railway station brought up the line from Briarcliff Manor (after town forefather Walter Law erected its replacement, now that town's Public Library, to greet guests of his Briarcliff Lodge in matching Tudor Revival style), Millwood was able to continue growing into the suburb it is today.
It's a reminder that life wasn't always easy, and a monument to just how far we've come.
With a new, modern facility recently declaring it surplus, the Millwood Fire District charged Houlihan Lawrence Commercial Realty Group with helping the venerable building find a new owner—and purpose. The property is prime for adaptive reuse, and with the Taconic Parkway, routes 120, 100 and 133 and the popular North County Trailway either adjacent or nearby, there's no shortage of thoroughfares. Commercial Group's Tom LaPerch covered a broad spectrum of possibilities, with proper permitting, from a restaurant or retail site to a workshop/storage yard. The upstairs features a commercial kitchen, as well as a member's lounge with bar and kitchenette downstairs.
"It could be many things," remarked district commissioner Hala Makowska. "The truck bays make it ideal for anything from a tree service company to a microbrewery, or it could be a good housing site. We're committed to finding the best option."