April 02, 2020

Fundraiser planned for firehouse

CALAIS – The four-piece group Evergreen, an American roots music ensemble based in Maine, soon will have this community tapping its toes while raising money for the St. Croix No. 1 Firehouse.

The group will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Calais Motor Inn. Happy hour begins at 6 p.m. Dinner will follow at 7 p.m.

Two members of the group have roots in Washington County.

The husband and wife team of Joe and Nellie Kennedy promoted the Breakneck Mountain Blue Grass Festival in Crawford. The other members of Evergreen, Steve Chiasson and Chris Prickitt, are from down south. The group plays all over the state. They recently performed at the Grand Lake Stream Folk Art Festival. Firehouse committee member Ted Carter of Alexander invited the band to Calais.

At one time, Kennedy said, he worked for the Calais Public Works Department. Kennedy and his wife now live in Ripley.

Kennedy said he was familiar with the firehouse and considered it an important restoration project. “I love that building, the architecture is just so cute … it’s from the old horse-and-carriage days,” he said. “It’s obviously an architectural treasure.”

The redbrick building is undergoing a face-lift, but more money is needed.

Built in 1874, the building at one time was home to the Happy Gang senior citizens group. Over the years, the group has used the building to hold meetings and have social events. Years ago, the group turned the building over to the city. The St. Croix No. 1 Firehouse Committee stepped in to save it.

The redbrick building on Church Street next to the City Building has a rich history, but even with the efforts of its former owners, it has fallen into disrepair. The committee has undertaken fundraising to save it. In addition to its historical importance, the 4,250-square-foot building offers the largest handicapped-accessible public meeting room of its kind in the downtown.

A $100,000 Community Development Block Grant is going to help, but it’s only a Band-Aid on a building that needs major surgery.

Renovations are focused on the hose tower, which is in bad shape. Firefighters used to pull the hoses high into the tower so they would dry. The structure at one time held the bell that used to call firefighters to the station.

Advance tickets are $25 single, $45 for a couple. At the door, the cost is $30 single, and $50 for a couple. Tickets can be purchased at Boston Shore Store, Shop ‘n Save, Ace Hardware or by calling Carter at 454-3896.

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