The current home of Blizzard and Zimmerman Attorneys law firm is a historic building here in Abilene at 441 Butternut Street.
It was originally built in 1926 as Abilene Fire Station Number 2 which was taken out of service, we believe, back in the 1960s. The building exterior has been restored, while the interior had been gutted for the most part and repurposed for office space. We still have a fireman’s pole in place, although it’s not usable, it’s just been roped off and the opening between the first and second floors has been sealed off with plexiglass.
The Abilene Fire Station No. 2 was constructed and opened in 1926. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
In the application for the register, the building was deemed to be “Abilene’s best and least altered example of a local government building. It is the city’s only fire station that retains its integrity and stands as a vivid reminder of municipal efforts to provide basic services for local residents.”
From the 1992 National Register of Historic Places application:
The Abilene Fire Station Number 2 is a 2-story rectangular building with brick, load-bearing masonry construction. Large Tudor arches, each with double wood doors and cast stone hood moldings, highlight the first floor of the 2-bay, front (west) elevation. The 3-bay second floor includes paired, double-hung windows at each end and a tripartite grouping of similar windows in the center bay.
Each of the windows, which have 1/1 light patterns, are detailed in low relief with buff brick laid to represent an in-and-out bond. The brick is then laid in a combination of header and rowlock courses to form a hood molding above each window. A continuous cast stone cornice molding adds continuity to the length and width of the building. A brick parapet with an embellished cast stone coping obscures what is presumed to be a flat roof. The interior stairwell and fire pole remain intact.
Statement of Significance:
The Abilene Fire Station Number 2, built in 1926, is nominated under Criterion C in the area of Architecture, as Abilene’s best and least altered example of a local government building.
It is the city’s only fire station that retains its integrity and stands as a vivid reminder of municipal efforts to provide basic services for local residents.
The building is associated with the historic context “The Railroad and Abilene’s Development into a Wholesale and Distribution Center in West Texas, 1881-1939.”
Abilene’s boom of the 1920s severely strained the city government’s ability to provide adequate fire protection for its citizens.
In response, the city undertook an aggressive building program by the mid-1920s and erected a main fire station at 402 Cedar on the north side of the tracks of the Texas and Pacific Railway Company. Because the tracks were a physical barrier and hindered traffic, the city decided to build another station on the south side.
Having acquired a lot at the northeast corner of Butternut and North Fifth, the city erected a $10,565 fire station in 1926.
It was of similar design (emphasizing classicism and Tudor detailing) to the main station but was of a smaller scale. It occupied a central location that enabled a short response time (Abilene Reporter-News March 16, 1936).
Subsequent growth required the city to build a substation at 1902 South Eleventh on the south side and another substation at 1601 Orange on the north side.
Of these four historic fire stations, only two still stand. The one at 1602 Orange has been severely altered on both the exterior and interior and is presently a private residence.
Although the station at 441 Butternut has been converted into a specialty store, it retains its historic interior and exterior integrity and character.
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The Blizzard and Zimmerman law firm occupied the building in 2018 and remains the current tenant.
Related link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abilene_Fire_Station_No._2
“National Register Information System”. National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
David Moore; Amy E. Dase (January 1992). National Register of Historic Places Registration: Abilene Fire Station No. 2 / 4917″ (PDF). Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved November 6, 2018.