Backstory: A Lost Old Garage Gets New Love

Carl Joerger of Real Deal Ecoblasting scrapes off tar from bricks on the historic Fire Station No. 1 Municipal Garage on Wednesday morning in Casper. The garage, long covered and hidden inside the old Plains Furniture Building, was discovered last year and saved from demolition. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

The building is on the National Historic Register list, even though half of it was hidden under a 70s-era addition when it was nominated.

Casper’s historic Fire Station No. 1 was built in 1921 in a gothic revival style. It served as an fire station until the late 1980s when a modern Station No. 1 was built a short distance away.

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The surprise discovery came as the old Plains Furniture Store was being explored for demolition. The store engulfed two older buildings, a car dealership and the municipal garage, and incorporated them into their large showroom.

The garage is now owned by Fire Station No. 1 owner Phil Schmidt. Schmidt restored the station and converted it into office space in the early 2000s and is now restoring the garage, which needs extensive work on the damaged decorative terra cotta and top brick.

For decades the handsome old fire station was surrounded by architecturally unimpressive neighbors. Now, with the completion of the David Street Station public plaza, it can be seen and enjoyed by more people than ever before.

This panaramic photo from the early-1920s shows the Casper Fire Station No. 1 with firefighters posing out front. The garage section at left was enclosed and by the Plains Furniture Store when it was constructed in the middle-1970s. It was recently demolished, exposing the garage once again. (Casper College Western History Center)

Firefighters pose in front of the Casper Fire Station No. 1 in the early-1920s. (Wyoming State Archives, Carrigan Collection)

The former Plains Furniture building sits empty on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Casper. The former furniture store covered an old car dealership and the Municipal Garage next to Fire Station No. 1, seen at right. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

The remains of the old Plains Furniture Building were removed in April of this year, exposing the old Municipal Garage for the first time in decades. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Part of the old municipal garage next to Fire Station No. 1 is seen after interior demolition at the former Plains Furniture building in Dec. 2017. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

The municipal garage attached to the historic Casper Fire Station building is exposed for the first time since the mid-70s on Wednesday, April 11, in downtown Casper. The garage was built over and used as part of the Plains Furniture Building for decades until early 2016, when the city bought the property. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

The Fire Station No. 1 Municipal Garage is being prepared for restoration. White paint was removed, exposing the original brick. Masons will restore the brick and damaged terra cotta. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Carl Joerger removes tar from the facade of the Municipal Garage on Wednesday morning. The residue was leftover from a furniture store that covered up the original building. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)