Residents rally to save historic fire station

By David Whisenant - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Thousands of Charlotte residents are coming together to try and save a historic fire station that once housed horse drawn wagons.

The future of the historic Fire Station #2 in south Charlotte is in limbo.

"My grandfather actually drove the horse team out of this building," said Lee Abernethy, who worked 30 years for the Charlotte Fire Department and held the rank of Battalion Chief.  "And then they're taking away one of the last standing pieces of history that we were involved with there."

The current owner plans for development have not worked out, and the owner, Marcel Stark, told the Charlotte Observer that a recent attempt to sell the station to a fire retirees group has failed.

Many in the community are worried that the building could be torn down if Stark sells it to another developer.

"Charlotte is a great place to display the historic properties they do have, but they're also taking them away to create empty spaces for speculation, sales, like that," said Bill Goodnow who operates a trophy shop on South Boulevard.

"I think Charlotte is getting built up and it's nice to have a bit of historic places around to keep the old Charlotte," added Ashley Lail.

Jennifer Oates created a Facebook page (!/group.php?gid=309070404834&ref=ts) dedicated to saving the station.  That group now numbers more than 5000.

There is also a petition ( that has drawn hundreds of signatures.

The station was built in 1909 and was once home to horse drawn fire engines.

City leaders and residents say they will continue to look for solutions that would preserve the building that has been appraised by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission at $950,000.