Built in 1845 to house a volunteer firefighting company, this renovated structure has everything that makes it original as well as a lot of things that make it modern.
“The Kensington Engine Company has almost completed a beautiful three-story brick building. “
—News article, The public ledger, April 14, 1845
You are looking at this beautiful brick building in the photo above. The fire company that built it was incorporated in 1781, as the marble stone embedded in its facade informs passers-by.
At the time, Fishtown was part of the Kensington District, as it was in 1845; the district takes its name from the shad fisheries which bordered the Delaware at this point. All of Kensington became part of Philadelphia during the consolidation of 1854, and the fire company was eventually taken over by a professional city fire department.
This converted fire station for sale in Fishtown, however, has much more than history behind it. This beautifully remodeled looker ticks just about every box on the Fishtown home search checklist.
Some of these boxes have to do with the location of this house, which I will come back to in a moment. But first, let’s take a look at the house itself.
For starters, it sits on unusually wide and unusually deep terrain: 35 feet wide and 93 feet deep. And the way the lot and the house are set up makes this one of the few homes in Philadelphia where parking will never be an issue.
This is because its original engine compartment, behind the double doors at the front, remains a garage for one car.
Then, next to the house, a paved driveway can contain two more.
And a one-story rear wing, accessible from the side yard, contains a second garage with room for six more cars. These cars will spoil the plantings in the side yard as it is now configured; you might want to think about other uses for this rear spoiler. (More on that later, too.)
Inside, a hallway leads from the front door past the garage to a beautiful living room, which also has French doors which open onto the side courtyard. The original wood slat paneling has been freshly repainted and the old heart pine hardwood floors now glisten.
You will find many original items, accessories and items in this home, such as porcelain door handles mounted on iron locks, marble thresholds and original joinery. The brass light fixtures and clawfoot tubs came later but are still vintage, as are other items you’ll see in this old Fishtown fire hall for sale.
The second floor kitchen-diner has a full suite of modern features, including a Kenmore five-burner stainless steel gas range, stainless steel fridge-freezer, modern white cabinets and a matte black faucet , an island drop-down butcher’s block and a kegerator.
Second-floor balcony The bathroom has period plumbing and a reclaimed vanity under its reclaimed marble sink.
The third floor has two more bedrooms. The original roof beams are visible in the primary.
It also has a mezzanine with a skylight accessible by a ladder. Support trusses diminish its usefulness a bit, but you can still use this loft as a storage space, sitting area, or even a home office.
And the bathroom has been modernized: accompanying its clawfoot tub, tiled paneling, tiled floor, a tiled outline for this tub, and a contemporary-style vanity.
The back bedroom has a mirror and matte finish cabinet for a closet.
Other modern features added as part of the renovation include dual zone air conditioning with electronic air purifier with ultraviolet purifier, two laundry rooms, Toto toilets and Cat5 Ethernet cabling as well as coaxial cable.
The listing agent offers a multitude of possibilities for the rear wing and the field. Instead of using it as a garage, you can use the rear wing as a workshop, or you can convert it into additional living space, a new master bedroom, in-laws / au pair / guest suite, studio art or photography, a home gym or game room, or a combination of these. You can also build a roof terrace or garden above – one of the kitchen windows is large enough to be converted into a door – or you can build two more floors above.
You could also build a second three-story house on the side of the land. You have enough space to give it parking and a yard of its own. (In which case, you might consider demolishing part of the garage to give your house back a backyard, especially if you decide to sell the secondary lot.)
Now for the other boxes that this house ticks. It has a very desirable location – with an asterisk. The “very desirable” part: Just about everything that brings people to Fishtown is within a reasonable walking distance of here: the shops, restaurants and nightclubs along Girard Avenue. The Frankford Avenue shopping and dining district. Penn Treaty Park. Rivers Casino and the Canal Street entertainment complex.
You can even walk to the Aramingo Village mall at the end of Fishtown, but that means you have to negotiate the maze of roads around the Girard Avenue exit of I-95.
Which brings us to the asterisk: Here you have the highway for a neighbor across the street. Fortunately, the sound walls keep it from disturbing you too much. If you drive, this interchange may be worth living here, especially since parking won’t be an issue. But even if you don’t, living here puts you close to Route 15 and the Girard station on the Market-Frankford line.
All of this, and you get a certified true copy of the Kensington Fire Company Deed of Incorporation No. 1, with a wax seal, as part of the agreement.
That certainly makes I-95 a small price to pay to make this converted fire station for sale yours, doesn’t it?
THE FINE PRINTING
SPA: 2 full, 1 half
SQUARE FEET: 3 319
SELLING PRICE: $ 799,900
308-10 Richmond St., Philadelphia, PA 19125 [Tim Owen | Compass]