The future Steamer House on North Avenue next to Owego Fire Station #2 that will house the Owego Fire Department’s 1866 Amoskeag Steam Fire Engine and 1939 Sanford Hose Truck, now under care, custody and control of Owego Hose Teams, Inc., is adding to what officials hope is a resurgence of the North Avenue business district in the Village of Owego.
The building, modeled after one located in Marathon, N.Y., but larger, will be constructed of cedar wood frame and glass solarium walls for 360 degree viewing with steeple supporting an antique fire bell previously located in clock tower of Owego Central Fire Station. The bell was removed in 2021 and was repaired at the Verdin Bell Company in Ohio and is ready for installation in the Steamer House.
Both the steam fire engine, currently under repair, and Steamer House will provide an immersive visual setting to tell the story of firefighting from 1866 to the present.
“We are excited about the addition of the Steamer House, Arts Park, Central Fire Station repairs and all the other activity underway on North Avenue,” said Owego Mayor Mike Baratta. “These are all positive projects for our Village.”
Both the Village of Owego Planning and Zoning Boards approved final site plans for the Steamer House building to be constructed at the former Lloyd’s Barbershop site. Originally proposed in January 2020, all planning requirements for the project have been meet and the building foundation with slab has been poured. The project bolsters the North Avenue corridor, improving an abandoned property while bringing foot traffic and tourists to the business district.
The Steamer House site is “build ready” for the building once enough funding is raised. The Hose Team is under contract with Middendorf Contracting to construct the building at a cost of $87,000. This does not include the building windows and bay door that adds $33,000 to the cost.
“We plan on using recycled barn beans for the building that will give it an authentic look,” said Don Middendorf, the construction lead.
Another feature of the site will be a plaza honoring past and present volunteer firefighters on the North Avenue side of the building.
Since 2020, Owego Hose Teams, Inc. has been raising funds to restore Owego’s steam fire engine and build the Steamer House. This month the Hose Team launched its “May Match Drive” to help fund the project, including Steamer House construction costs that have grown to over $120,000.
Individuals can contribute to the project by participating in the Hose Team’s “Steam Booster” donor program. For a $100 tax-deductible contribution, name(s) will be placed on a cast iron bronze plaque that will proudly hang on the Steamer House building. Donors can also purchase “bell stock” supporting the installation of the Central Fire Station Bell in the Steamer House for $25 and benches that will surround the building.
Information on all fundraisers can be found at the Hose Team’s website at www.OwegoHoseTeams.com and contributions can be made online at the website or by sending a check to the Hose Team at 461 East Main St., Owego in care of the Steamer project. All contributions are tax deductible as the Hose Team is a recognized 501c3 charitable organization.
“Owego is a place in this country where pride still matters,” said Past Owego Fire Chief and Hose Team volunteer Danny Gavin. “This project exemplifies that.”