Special to The Ely Times
Last week, the National Park Service (NPS) listed the Ely City Hall and Fire Station in Ely, in the National Register of Historic Places.
The NPS also approved Fire Stations of Nevada, a special report on historic fire stations in Nevada produced by the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office.
The report, called a multiple property documentation form (MPDF), provides a history of firefighting and fire station architecture in Nevada, and establishes registration requirements for historic fire stations, making it easier for community members to nominate their eligible fire stations to the National Register.
The National Register is the nation’s official list of places worthy of preservation, recognizing important places and potentially qualifying them for certain grants and tax incentives.
The practice of firefighting and the construction of fire stations became a standard element of every community in Nevada by the late-nineteenth century. From professional fire stations in urban environments, such as Las Vegas and Reno, to rural volunteer fire departments in communities like Pioche and Winnemucca, firefighting became, and remains, an essential public service in Nevada.
Early firefighters advocated for the adoption of building codes, and developed new methods and equipment to fight fires. They also became noteworthy emblems of public service and volunteerism, often being community-supported and, even today,primarily reliant on volunteers.
Most of Nevada’s communities have an historic fire station, even if it is no longer used by its fire department. Many historic fire stations have been successfully adapted for new uses, such as offices or restaurants.
The Ely City Hall and Fire Station was recognized for its role as the seat of the City of Ely’s government from its construction in 1929 to the present, as well as its role as the headquarters for Ely’s Fire Department from 1929 to 1999.