The OES visited Violet Township Fire Station 591 on September 25, 2016. The Pickerington Fire Department was established as a volunteer organization in 1934, about seven years after a massive fire destroyed five buildings and threatened Pickerington’s entire business district. The department purchased its first fire truck, a 17-year-old tanker, and stored it in a private garage until a brick single-bay structure was built at 22 North Center Street in 1938. That building still stands today and is privately owned. The fire department bought its first new truck in 1941 from the Ford Motor Company, which remains in service for parades. In 1953, Pickerington residents passed a bond issue to build a larger fire station and expand service to the entire township, and as such, the department was renamed Violet Township Fire Department.
The location occupied by the Violet Township House and community jail, built around 1883, was chosen as the site to build Station 591. The old buildings had been moved there in 1915, when the Carnegie Library was built on the front portion of the lot. Those buildings were demolished, and Station 591 opened in 1954 with an additional truck. Station 591 had separate addresses for each floor. The bottom floor, 21 Lockville Road, housed the volunteer fire department, while the second floor, 10 North Center Street, housed township offices. An emergency squad was added in 1955, and a rescue/grass fire truck was added nine years later.
The Violet Township Fire Department remained a volunteer-based department for the next thirty years. In 1986, the township hired Kenneth Taylor as the fire department’s first paid chief. He was put in charge of 26 volunteers and four full-time firefighters. Voters approved a levy in May 1988 to establish the Violet Township Fire Department as a full-time, around-the-clock department, hiring an additional nine full-time firefighters. This forced the township trustees out of the building. They turned the second floor over to the fire department in December 1988. The fire department partitioned the second floor into the configuration in the photos below, as it had previously been one big room with a separate restroom. The restroom had a few sinks, a toilet, and a communal shower until 2007, when it was renovated into two restrooms, each with a toilet, sink, and private shower.
The department continued to grow, utilizing the garages at the old service station across the street, at 4 E. Columbus Street, for extra equipment. Firefighters would have to run across the street to retrieve equipment if extra units were needed. This problem was resolved in 1996, when Station 592 opened on Refugee Road. As time went on and fire equipment got larger and larger, the township had to start special-ordering fire apparatus that would fit in the small bays of the 1954 Station 591. Residents passed a levy in May 2014 to help finance a new Station 591, with an additional $5 million in tax-exempt municipal bonds raised in December 2015 to expedite the construction. This meant the days of Station 591 were numbered.
Violet Township acquired and demolished Violet Grange Hall across from Station 591 in September 2015 to make way for the construction crew and to serve as the new Station 591’s parking lot. Two homes at 5 and 13 West Columbus Street were acquired and demolished in August 2016 to make way for the new station’s living quarters and offices. The original plan was to build the new Station 591 behind the current Station 591 and demolish the old Station 591 once the new building was complete. Those plans fell through due to logistical reasons, so the firefighters were temporarily relocated to the Violet Township Service Center at 490 Center Street for the duration of the construction. A double-wide trailer was purchased for the firefighters’ living quarters, and the township’s service center housed the equipment.
We visited Station 591 a few weeks before the firefighters moved to their temporary home. We wanted to capture what the station was like in day-to-day operation at the end of its life. The equipment was squeezed into the building. Engine 591 took every square inch available in its bay. The living quarters were pretty tight as well. The new station will feature more kitchen space and at least twice the living space, in addition to bays suited to modern firefighting equipment. We were shown the blueprints for the new Station 591, and it looked like it would be state-of-the-art, blending perfectly into Olde Pickerington Village. Station 591 was demolished a month after our visit on October 24 and 25, 2016. Sadly, we could not make it to the demolition. If you have any photos or videos of the demolition that you would like to share, please email . As of this posting in January 2017, construction on the new Station 591 is well underway. It is expected to be completed in early 2018. We hope to visit once it’s done!
A special thank you to Violet Township Fire Department Chief Mike Little for allowing us to photograph Station 591. Another thanks to Lieutenant Ron Metzger for showing us around and giving us the history of the station.
Location Information: Demolished
Violet Township Fire Station 591 was located at 21 Lockville Road in Olde Pickerington Village; Fairfield County.