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One step of the restoration of the fire hall located on the grounds of historic Fort William H. Seward in Haines, Alaska included having to raise and level the existing building as shown in this photo. Using 22 jacks to support the building, the entire building was raised approximately 6 inches. This allowed for the removal of rotten wood and the adding of a stem wall to the foundation.
The old doors pictured would eventually be used as design elements in the restored interior. The jack in the center of the photo marks the spot where at one time the length of the fire hall had at one time been extended.
The restoration included rebuilding a missing 35-foot section of the 60-foot tower whose purpose was to dry fire hoses. The tower restoration was completed by building its four sections on the ground and then hoisting those sections with a crane into place on top of each other.
Through the years, the historic Fort Seward area, a former U.S. Army post, has been referred to as Fort William H. Seward, Chilkoot Barracks, and Port Chilkoot. The National Historic Landmarks listing record for the fort says that "Fort Seward was the last of 11 military posts established in Alaska during the territory's gold rushes between 1897 and 1904. Founded for the purpose of preserving law and order among the gold seekers, the fort also provided a U.S. military presence in Alaska during boundary disputes with Canada. The only active military post in Alaska between 1925 and 1940, the fort was closed at the end of World War II.”
The bottom portion of the fire hall is being leased as commercial space. Due to fire code restrictions there is no public access to the upper portion of the tower.
The fire hall was by owners Joanne Waterman and Phyllis Sage who also own the fort’s original guardhouse located next door to the fire hall. That building, now known as the Alaska Guardhouse, is a bed and breakfast.
- Fort Seward fire hall renovation-5.jpg
- © 2014 John L. Dengler
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