Saco Central Fire Station, Saco

With the development of massive textile mills in Saco and directly across the river in Biddeford beginning in 1845, Saco grew rapidly, developing an urban center. Several serious fires in the 1840s led to an increasing demand from citizens for an adequate fire protection system in the city. The Saco Central Fire Station was constructed in 1939.  The undertaking was accomplished with financial assistance from the federal Public Works Administration, one of the many programs created under the New Deal legislation, specifically to manage the construction of public buildings with the use of private construction companies.

Design elements, such as the doors with turned half-balusters over the glazing that resemble horse stall doors and the cast stone horse heads on the keystones, recalled memories of the horse-drawn era of firefighting.

The station served as the central fire station from its construction until it closed in January 2011 when it was replaced by a modern fire station at another site. The Saco City Council favored demolition of the historic fire station. Maine Preservation listed the fire station on its Most Endangered List in 2012, and Housing Initiatives of New England purchased the building to rehabilitate it for new use.

The station was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in April 2013 which made the building eligible for Historic Tax Credits.

The original wood bay doors on the façade of the station had been replaced with modern rolling doors. The rehabilitated design included replacing these garage doors, along with new windows, and pedestrian doors in order to match the historic façade of the fire station.

The Saco Central Fire Station currently contains four apartments on the second floor along with a fitness center on the first floor, retaining the original open floor plan. Its restoration and rehabilitation allows the past fire station to continue to serve Saco as residential and fitness spaces while also preserving its historical significance.