From the outside, the Allison Hook and Ladder Firehouse doesn’t look like much.
From the outside, the old Allison Hook and Ladder Firehouse doesn’t look like much. Plywood surrounds newly installed windows, sun-faded banners are draped over the brick exterior and stain glass windows proudly read “Allison” above the doors. But to owner and Harrisburg firefighter Jason Lloyd, restoring the South Allison Hills neighborhood firehouse built in 1909 has become an obsession.
Lloyd, a collector of firefighter memorabilia and a local history buff, set his sights on the firehouse in 2000 when he wrote his first letter to the Allison Hook and Ladder Company about buying the property.
The city closed the firehouse in 1980 and it sat vacant — used only as storage for the next 30 years, said Lloyd.
Many letters and about 10 years later, Lloyd began his renovation.
Inside the firehouse, old newspaper clippings, framed signage, tools, construction materials and a time capsule fill a workman’s bench.
Two antique ladder trucks — one fire engine red that was used when the Allison company was an active station and one bright yellow are parked in the garage.
When Lloyd tracked down the original Allison truck and brought it back to the firehouse, he said some of the neighbors thought the city had reinstated the station. Lloyd said he even got a call from a city official, asking what was going on.
Up a winding set of stairs, progress can be easily seen on the second level of the firehouse with an airy loft like space.
At the center of a large open room is the skeleton of a bar made from the re-purposed gear lockers of firefighters of the past.
Lloyd said after about five years into the rehabilitation, he still doesn’t have a grand plan for the Allison Hook and Ladder building once the renovation is complete.
“I just want to save the history,” says Lloyd.