From the Vicksburg Post
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
City allocates funds to repair Constitution Firehouse
By MARK J. ARMSTRONG
Constitution Firehouse, now an art gallery, will get major repairs using $150,000 allocated by Vicksburg officials Monday.
The money will go for fixing the roof and repairing mortar between bricks of the 132-year-old fire station at 1204 Main St.
"The building is literally falling down and we want to save it," said Mayor Laurence Leyens as advertisements for bids were OK'd.
The Mississippi State Landmark is home to the Vicksburg Art Association's Firehouse Gallery, site of several student and professional art shows and events each year.
The VAA has also raised an additional $50,000 to fix up the inside of the firehouse and for landscaping.
Constitution Firehouse is believed to be the most intact Victorian fire station in the state. It was built in 1870 as the second house for the city's first volunteer fire company and later housed the first paid company.
The building retains the central stall, barracks room, cupola and bell that was used to call the volunteers. A date stamped on the bell indicates that it was forged in 1849, 21 years before the firehouse was built. The concrete floor is milled so horses that pulled fire reels could have traction.
The firehouse belongs to the CIty of Vicksburg, but has been used by the VAA since 1971 under an agreement with the city. During that time, all maintenance to the building has been funded by the association.