By Bethany Bray
---- — SALEM — The North Street fire station, built during the era of horse-drawn fire equipment, is said to be America’s third-oldest continuously operating fire station — and it continues to serve the city 132 years after it was built. But time has taken its toll.
Now the small station at 142 North St. will be getting a variety of improvements in the coming year, as the city was awarded a $65,000 Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund matching grant this week.
The majority of the renovations — painting, window and masonry work — will focus on the building’s exterior.
The repairs will quell leaks and drafty windows and make the building more energy efficient, said Mayor Kim Driscoll.
“(The station) is on a key entrance and exit corridor to the city,” she said. “Both from a functionality perspective and an aesthetic perspective, (the grant) will be helpful on several different fronts. ... These are things you want to address before they become worse.
“If you drive by, it’s plain to see how much (this work) is needed,” Driscoll said.
The full renovation project is expected to cost $130,000; the city will be responsible for costs beyond the $65,000 grant.
The station, one of four in the city, houses an engine company and primarily serves North Salem.
The renovation project will go out to bid in the fall, according to Driscoll’s office.
Repairs include cleaning and restoration of the building’s entire facade, including the cornice and window sashes, sealing cracks and areas of loose brick, repairing and repainting wood trim, and recaulking window frames.
The North Street fire station was built in 1881 and designed by Salem native and noted architect William Denis.
City leaders applied for the station to be added to the National Register of Historic Places last year, opening the door for the possibility of historic preservation grant funding.
Fire Chief David Cody was out of the office Friday and could not be reached for comment.
Bethany Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.