OGDEN — He may or may not be able to make other claims to fame, but one thing’s for sure — Larry Carr’s home gives him special status.
“I’m that guy that lives in the firehouse,” he said.
And now he has another claim — his redbrick home, once Firehouse 2 for the Ogden Fire Department, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, managed by the National Park Service. Carr, who has lived in the small converted home on Ogden’s East Bench since 2002, long thought about getting it a place on the register. He finally started the process last year and received word just last month that he achieved the goal.
The new designation helps preserve a piece of the city’s past, he said, noting with chagrin the destruction of other historic structures in the city over the years. The small 800-square-foot home now joins the Main Branch library in Ogden, Ogden High School, Union Station and many other historic structures in the area also listed on the register.
“This is part of Ogden’s history,” said Carr, a member of the board of the Weber County Heritage Foundation, tasked with raising awareness about Utah’s historic and architectural legacy. “History is what we are. ... It tells us who we are and where we’re going.”
The structure at 1585 25th St., built in 1927, stands out for its oversized red and white garage door, large enough to accommodate a fire truck from back in the day. It also has a concrete marker engraved with “O.F.D. 2” above the garage door. Except for a few years during the Great Depression in the 1930s, it served as a firehouse from its construction until 1968. That’s when it was retired from service with the completion of two other fire stations, one on 21st Street west of Harrison Boulevard and another on Harrison Boulevard south of 34th Street.
“I don’t think the fire engines today would fit in the garage,” said Carr, 81, a professional photographer and Autoliv employee in his younger days, who now serves as a substitute teacher for the Weber School District.
Whatever the case, it still draws attention, probably because of the tall garage door, even though the home otherwise fits in with the other houses in the residential neighborhood. Strangers, Carr said, will approach with questions.
“Just people driving by — they’re curious and they knock and ask,” said Carr, who usually accommodates them.
Being just a one-story building, there’s no shiny fire pole that firefighters used to slide down, though. “But I sure get asked a lot,” he said.
‘AN HONORIFIC DESIGNATION’
The application for placement on the registry spells out the distinctive characteristics of the home. It was featured in a 2008 HGTV television program about repurposed structures, “Rezoned,” and was one of several homes highlighted in the 2014 Weber County Heritage Foundation Historic House Tour.
“The clipped gable roof lends a touch of colonial revival style, while other ornamentation implies other common bungalow-style influences, such as arts and crafts and prairie school styles,” the application reads. It further notes the “concrete ornamentation surrounding the garage door and the decorative roof eave moldings and frieze.”
Chris Hansen, a preservation planner with the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, said the building’s history and architecture make it stand out. He helped with the application to get it on the register.
“Architecturally, it was constructed at a time when public buildings were often thoughtfully designed to blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, thus we get a fire station that looks like a period cottage residence, like its neighbors,” Hansen said in an email. “You don’t see that community-based design much anymore and there aren’t many buildings like this around.”
Getting on the register, Hansen said, is “an honorific designation.”
But with the status comes potential access to tax credits to aid in rehabilitation work, though Carr said he has no upgrade plans in the works. He just wanted to make sure the building got the attention and recognition he thinks it deserves.
In its days as a firehouse, the two-bedroom structure accommodated four firefighters and housed one truck. Carr thinks it was built high on Ogden’s East Bench to make it easy and quick to get to fires further down the hill given the limited power of firetrucks of the day.
When the city sold the structure in 1968, the buyer turned it into a rental property. It was sold again in 1994 and it popped onto the radar screen of Carr, a trombone player, when he started taking private lessons from a music instructor who lived in the area. As soon as the home returned to the market in 2002, he snapped it up.
Inside, there are red flourishes all over, an old firehose nozzle from the days when the building was used as a firehouse and an old firefighter’s helmet on a shelf — offering clues to its history. An old black-and-white picture hangs on the wall, showing a group of firefighters standing in front of an old firetruck in front of the building in its firehouse days.
Carr claims, though, that he doesn’t dwell too much on the building’s history. It’s just a comfortable place for him and his dog Jeannie.
“I love living here,” he said.