Santa Paula: Historic Fire Station Renovation and Memorial Park

By Sheryl Hamlin

Carlos Juarez, retired former SPPD Lt, and Gary Nasalroad, former Planning Commissioner and board member of American in Bloom, presented a plan to continue renovation of the historic fire station on 8th Street and Santa Barbara with the addition of a 9/11 Memorial Park to the west of the building.



Carlos Juarez(top) and Gary Nasalroad (lower)

History of Station

The above picture shows what is now the County Agriculture Commissioner Headquarters, which was originally a county fire station built in 1928. A second county building, built in 1935, was also used by the County Fire Department located at 8th and Santa Barbara shown below in a recent picture from Carlos Juarez’ presentation. Renovation started in 2015.

Renovation and Future Plans

Gary Nasalroad explained that the project started initially as a beautification project. Using succulents, cactus and drought tolerant landscape design, America in Bloom volunteers created the landscaping. Mr. Nasalroad explained that they realized the building needed painting and the rotten doors needed repair. Vern Alstot, retired county fire department, came into the project and the project “took off”, according to Gary. Vern Alstot was able to obtain funds from the fire associations and $5500 was raised. The Santa Paula murals committee (Doug Nelson, Howard Bolton and John Nichols) was brought in to consult on the creation of trompe l’oeil murals for the doors. Doug Nelson had previously created an architectural rendering of the entire Historic Railroad Park, which included this corner.

Park Rendering, Doug Nelson

Fire Memorial 9-11 Steel

Santa Paula Fire Department had previously obtained a piece of steel from a New York World Trade Center tower destroyed on 9-11-2001. It was decided that the park area to the west of the historic fire station would be the home of the future 9-11 Memorial. The memorial will include replicas of the Fire Department badge and patch. Three flagpoles will be lit with LED lights focusing on the obelisk shaped monument.

Fundraising

Carlos Juarez said that the project will require an excess of $100,000. There will be tile opportunities and other naming opportunities. A brochure is in process. Donations may be sent to:

Santa Paula Police and Fire Foundation
P.O. Box 162
Santa Paula, CA 93061
Note: FIRE MEMORIAL on memo line of check

In comments, Council Member Procter noted that his grandfather had been involved in the establishment of the fire station. He was pleased to see the renovation, saying “too many things withering away”. Note that the Procter family home, the Hardison Farmstead, is awaiting historic designation. Read articles about the Hardison farmstead.

To watch the presentation, click here.

Although not discussed at council, the fire station appears to be eligible for historic designation due to its contribution to county history and age.

For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com


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Janet Goode

Excellent reporting Sheryl. Let’s hope that this wonderful building is saved.
My family lived in SP decades ago, but we were smitten by the brick public buildings, lovely Victorian homes, charming Spanish Colonial high school, and many other buildings. It was a sad day when the old library was lost, still preserved in artist renderings, but replaced on Main Street.

Hopefully preserving the fire station for posterity will start a positive wave of historic appreciation in SP. As we see relics of the past decaying, and becoming defunct, we need to appreciate the efforts of our ancestors. In those structures we observe/reflect upon the work of their daily lives, and the courage required in taking risks which brought us here.

Lydia Hamilton

Of you do something to add names of previous firefighters such bricks like police memorial or plaque please let me know. My brother Tom Hamilton loved being a volunteer fireman.

Citizen Reporter

Please contact them directly with that request.

Gary Nasalroad

Sheryl,
Thank you for this excellent article reporting our presentation to the City Council regarding our old fire station restoration and Fire Memorial Park we hope to build. I plan to take your recommendation for a possible historic designation for this site to Mitch Stone and Judy Triem for their assistance in achieving this designation.
We are very proud of the work accomplished to date and believe our community will be very pleased when the project is completed.