‘Tis the Season for Giving

By Robin Ragland, VHCA Board Member, and Lola Carlisle, Member of the VHCA Preservation Committee

There’s a strong tradition of giving in Virginia-Highland during the month of December – especially when it come to the Fire Station 19 restoration project. 

This year’s breakfast at Osteria 832 raised $5,000 for the fire station, making it the number one beneficiary of Rich Chey’s restaurants’ giving.  This brings their 14-year total amount of funds raised for the station to $55,000!  

Doc Chey's owner Rich Chey presents the Fire Station 19 crew with the proceeds check from Brekafast with Santa. Photo credit Ashley Lepore

Doc Chey’s owner Rich Chey presents the Fire Station 19 crew with the proceeds check from Breakfast with Santa. Photo credit Ashley Lepore.

marcos-check-at-fs-19

Marco’s Pizza sponsored FireFest in October and raised $5,000 for Station 19. Thanks to Marcos owners, Robb and Melanie Wallace (pictured above on the back row second and third from the left) who brought their larger-than-life donation over during Santathon. The firefighters pictured are F.F. Kinan Humphrey (back row, left), F.F. Chris Knott (back row, 2nd from right), Cpt. Quentin Campbell (front row, left), and Sgt. Germaine Stringer (front row, right).  

We also just wrapped up our 3rd annual and most successful Santathon, presented by Tailfin Marketing. This year’s fundraising event raised an additional $4,000 for Fire Station 19.

These funds will be added to those already collected for the restoration project, and there will be additional events in 2017, such as the Morningside Mile on March 16.  However, there is still a need for more money – about $15,000 more is needed.  

Breakfast with Santa raised a record amount of funds for FS #19! Photo credit Lola Carlisle

Breakfast with Santa raised a record amount of funds for FS #19! Photo credit Lola Carlisle

Did you know that you can make a tax-deductible donation to VHCA’s Virginia-Highland Conservation League (VHCL)?  Your money will go directly to neighborhood projects such as the Fire Station 19 project, local park improvements, and payments on the loan for our very own North Highland Park.

You can mail a check (made out to the Virginia-Highland Conservation League) to VHCA at P.O. Box 8401 Station F, Atlanta, GA 31106. You can also make an online donation by clicking on the Donate button on the main page at vahi.org. A letter confirming your donation can be mailed to you if you would like to receive one.

Reach out to vhcl@vahi.org if you have any questions.

Don’t Miss Photos With Santa at Fire Station #19!

By Lola Carlisle, VHCA Planning and Preservation Committee member

2015-santathon-20Station #19 Firemen. Photos with Santa. Fire trucks. Crafts. Hot chocolate. What are we missing? … You.

Please come join us on December 10th from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. as we have fun and raise funds for Fire Station #19 renovations. You can sign up for pictures or walk up – we’ll do our best to work everyone in.

Santahon_2015_2Don’t miss the chance to decorate ornaments and have fun with your neighbors. Steve Spetz will be on hand again this year doing great caricatures. And if you just want to hang out and volunteer for the event, you can do that through the link above.

Along with the Fire Station’s great hats, t-shirts, and mugs, we’ll have prints of Steve Spetz Fire Station watercolors for sale.

Our sponsors so far this year include Tailfin and many others who are adding to the fun with activities, treats and specials including Virginia-Highland Civic Association, San Francisco Coffee, Avant Gardener and Barefoot Mountain Farms.

Santathon_2015_1

Fire Station 19 Santathon Set for December 10

By Lola Carlisle, VHCA History and Preservation Committee Member

Virginia-Highland’s holiday tradition returns to historic Fire Station 19 on December 10th from 11;00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Kids and parents are invited to join us for arts and crafts activities and have their photos made with Santa himself.

All proceeds go to Station 19 renovations. Our sponsors this year include Tailfin and many others who are adding to the fun with activities, treats and specials including Google Fiber, Virginia-Highland Civic Association, San Francisco Coffee, Avant Gardener, Barefoot Mountain Farms and Knock Music House.

Click here to reserve your spot and remember that walk-ups are also welcome!

VaHi Residents Turn Out for Firefest

Marco’s Pizza knows how to throw a party!  A big thank you to Robb and Melanie Wallace! There was something for everyone—pizza, caricature artists, face painting, a balloon artist, a photo booth, music, the chance to test your throwing arm and dunk your favorite fireman, and a friendly rivalry between the firefighters and Marco’s staff in tug-o-war.  The firemen also showed off their other talents as they line danced and played games with the attendees.  Even our dogs were made welcome with their own treats and activities.

Fireman Mike poses with the specialty pie that now bears his name.

Fireman Mike poses with the specialty pie that now bears his name.

In addition to a range in types of pizza provided, there was a special pizza sample of the winning Fireman’s pizza–Fireman Mike’s Pizza (cheese, spinach, pepperoni, crumbled sausage, bacon, onions and garlic butter crust). 

Any way you look at it, Firefest was a great success. Approximately 600 people joined in the festivities held in N Highland Park on Sept 24 to celebrate the opening of Marco’s Pizza, and raise money to help fund the restoration of Fire Station 19.  The total collected was $4,910!   

As with any successful endeavor, there are many who contributed their resources to make it seem so seamless for everyone else just enjoying the day.  Thanks to the following organizations and businesses for their contributions, most of which were raffle prizes.  Kris Colluro Smith was the winner in the drawing of the 5-year pizza contest.

  • Atlanta Police Department
  • Bill Hallman Boutique
  • Google fiber
  • Havoline Express Lube
  • Highland Woodwork
  • Home Depot – Ponce De Leon Avenue
  • Intown Ace Hardware
  • Lionheart Framing
  • Marco’s Pizza
  • Mister Car Wash
  • Paw Palace
  • Sweet Peach Wax & Sugaring – North Highland Avenue
  • Van Michael Salon – North Highland Avenue
  • Wells Fargo – Virginia Avenue
Tug-of-war was one of the day's most popular activities.

Tug-of-war was one of the day’s most popular activities.

Be sure to drop by and thank the participating businesses when you get a chance.  Marco’s Pizza is located at 798 North Highland Avenue Suite B.

The design phase of the restoration project is in its initial start-up phase.  Updates will be provided as the project progresses.  Our next fundraising event for the Fire Station 19 restoration is Santathon on Dec. 10.  We hope to see everyone there!

Kids Candy Crawl Set for October 26

The Virginia-Highland Business Association has announced they’ll hold a Kids Candy Crawl on October 26.

Meet at 5:30 pm at Fire Station #19 (corner of N. Highland and Los Angeles). Stroll down N. Highland looking for orange balloons. When you see one, stop and get a free treat from one of your local businesses. The Crawl continues down N. Highland to St. Charles, right on St. Charles and then into the alleyway off St. Charles to Knock.

After filling your bags with goodies, head on over to Atkins Park for dinner. All kids in a costume will get a free kids menu meal.

Want to volunteer? Volunteers are needed to make VaHi’s crosswalks safe for the Krawl. Contact Stephen Cohen at scohen49@gmail.com if you’re interested.

Firefest in the Park to Benefit FS #19

What: Firefest in the Park, an event to benefit Fire Station #19

When: Saturday, September 24, 2016, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Where: North Highland Park (corner of N. Highland and St. Charles)

Atlanta Fire Station #19 is an icon in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.  Dating back to 1925, it’s the oldest continuously operated fire station in the city. The Virginia-Highland Civic Association is taking the lead in renovating the station in partnership with the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department, and Surber Barber Choate + Hertlein Architects.  Firefest in the Park is a community event to help raise the needed dollars to preserve this beloved community treasure. 

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Marco’s Pizza, recently opened on N. Highland near Greenwood, is partnering with the Virginia-Highland Civic Association to throw a party for us all, which will feature great food, entertainment, and activities involving the crew at Fire Station #19. The event will include:

  • Free Slices of Pizza
  • Firefighter Challenges, including a Dunk Tank!
  • Fire Truck Display
  • Caricaturists and Balloon Artists
  • Live Music
  • Enter to Win Free Pizza for Five Years

In addition, there will be a pizza eating contest between Atlanta Firefighters and our Zone 6 police officers – come show your support and cheer on all competitors! Google Fiber is another partner host, and will provide a face painter and complimentary water.

We hope to see everyone at the park next Saturday to enjoy a fun afternoon and raise as much money as we can for the Fire Station #19 restoration project.

Fire Station No. 19 Renovation About to Begin, Final Funds Needed

Community-wide collaboration should position one of VaHi’s most important historical treasures well for the future

By VHCA Board Member Dr. Catherine Lewis

After years of planning and fundraising and months of hard work vetting contracts, the VHCA is pleased to announce that the city is about to start the contracting process for the renovation of the No. 19 Fire Station.

Fire Station #19 illustration by Steve Spetz

Fire Station #19 illustration by Steve Spetz

Fire Station No. 19 is Atlanta’s oldest continuously operating station. Located at 1063 N. Highland Avenue in the heart of the historic Virginia-Highland neighborhood, the station has been a neighborhood landmark for more than 90 years. 

All preliminary inspections have found that No. 19’s building is structurally sound but needs repair and modernization to support a diverse firefighting force. The goal of this effort is to keep No. 19 operating in a safe and efficient manner for at least another 50 years, while addressing important issues related to historic preservation and stormwater.

The project team—comprised of members of the VHCA board, the Virginia-Highland Conservation League, the Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department, the City of Atlanta’s Office of Enterprise Management and Legal Department, Attorney’s Office, and the Urban Design Commission, and City Councilman Alex Wan’s office – vetted four architectural firms and selected Surber Barber Choate + Hertlein Architects, best known for their work on Ponce City Market. Tom Little, the director of historic preservation for the firm, has been a very strong partner and will help ensure that the renovation meets all of the AFRD’s operational needs while attending to the unique challenges of renovating a historic building.

No. 19 with DogThis has been such a collaborative effort, there are almost too many people to thank. I begin with the men and women at No. 19 and the AFRD. They love the station and care for it each day. I also want to recognize local attorney Bob Zoeckler (who helped with the donor agreement), Chip Bullock (an architect in the neighborhood and member of the VHCA Planning Committee), Rich Chey (owner Doc Chey’s, Osteria, and Dragon Bowl who has been a stalwart fundraising partner), Harris Botnick (owner of Worthmore Jewelers), and Melanie and Robb Wallace (owners of Marco’s Pizza), Yeah! Burger, and Lola Carlisle and Greg Abel (owners of Tailfin Marketing). Countless individuals have contributed financially as have all the volunteers who are part of VHCA’s fundraising efforts which include the Tour of Homes and Summerfest.

This neighborhood-city partnership promises to serve as a model for other communities, and we are proud to do the heavy lifting to make that a reality.

The hard work is still ahead of us, but I wanted to commend the 2015-2016 VHCA board for their assistance, wisdom, and foresight. They have been very strong advocates for this and so many other neighborhood projects. I look forward to continuing this work with my fellow board members who have turned vision into reality.

The fundraising effort is not yet complete, so look out for additional fundraising efforts. On September 24, from 1-4 p.m. Marco’s Pizza will host a community festival to raise funds for No. 19. Please contact me at clewis1@kennesaw.edu if you would like to volunteer to help with the project or make a financial contribution. We still have about $15,000 to raise, so any and all help is appreciated.

Worthmore Anniversary Celebration to Support Fire Station #19

No. 19 StationCome celebrate Worthmore Jewelers 23rd anniversary on Saturday, August 27, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm and help support the No. 19 Fire Station.

Drinks and treats will be available all day at the Midtown Store in Amsterdam Walk, 500 L-3 Amsterdam Avenue. A special lunch will be served from Noon to 1:00 pm. Enter a raffle to win a women’s or men’s Shinola watch, and celebrate that the raffle and the day’s proceeds will also support the fire station. You can purchase raffle tickets in advance of the event.

Come and celebrate with a great community partner. See the flyer below for more information.

August Event Flyer 1-up 

Morningside Mile Set for April 17, Profits Support FS #19 Restoration

e-flyer-mm-vh-2016You can help save Virginia-Highland’s historic Fire Station #19 by registering now to run in the Morningside Mile, set for April 17.

100% of race profits are donated to preserve our treasured fire station and help keep it in service. Thanks to grass roots support of Morningside Mile and other efforts, the station is no longer on the chopping block, but we are still raising funds for the renovations, whose final costs are not yet known. We  need your active support; please register now to run or walk and support our neighborhood firefighters and first-responders!

Click here to register.

  • 1-mile Race
  • Cash Prizes
  • Great Swag
  • Block Party

Update on Restoration of Fire Station #19

No. 19 Fire Station c. 1920sBy Dr. Catherine Lewis, VHCA Board Member

For the past year, VHCA and dedicated neighborhood volunteers have been working on a plan to renovate Fire Station #19. This promises to be a model partnership between the City of Atlanta, City Councilman Alex Wan’s office, the Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department, and VHCA.

VHCA board member Catherine Lewis, left, and VHCA planning committee member Chip Bullock, right, meet with architect Tom Little of Surber Barber.

VHCA board member Catherine Lewis, left, and VHCA planning committee member Chip Bullock, right, meet with architect Tom Little of Surber Barber.

Throughout the fall and winter a committee interviewed four architects and after a rigorous process selected Surber Barber Choate + Hertlein Architects, the team that recently completed the restoration of Ponce City Market. One of the project’s goals is to have VHCA donate the architectural work to help stretch the $600,000 the city has set aside from the recent transportation bond. Over the next several months you will be seeing more information about the station renovation, and we appreciate anyone’s willingness to donate funds to support the effort. 

VHCA board members Jack White and Catherine Lewis, left and center, talk with firemen outside FS #19.

VHCA board members Jack White and Catherine Lewis, left and center, talk with firemen outside FS #19.

There is an important fundraising event coming up soon for the station – the Morningside Mile. This is a nearby, one-mile race where 100% of the proceeds support restoration of the fire station. The race will be held Sunday April 17, Noon – 2pm. Please encourage everyone to register. After all…it’s only a mile! For more information or to register, click here.

We will advise of future steps in the process of restoring our treasured Fire Station #19 as the plan takes shape.

Catherine Lewis is a VHCA Board Member, a historian and museum curator, and is coordinating the restoration of the No. 19 Fire Station. If you would like to become involved, email her at clewis1@kennesaw.edu. 

Support Fire Station #19 at 5th Annual Morningside Mile

mmlogo300pixelsmmraceThe Morningside Mile is a 1-mile race and block party hosted by Doc Chey’s. 100% of race profits will be donated to the fund to renovate Fire Station #19 to help keep it in service. This year’s event – the fifth annual – is scheduled for Sunday, March 29th, 12noon-2pm.

Registered runners get a technical race shirt, free SweetWater beer and other swag. Cash prizes will be awarded for fastest runners. This is a very family-friendly race so all ages, runner levels and walkers are encouraged to participate.

The post-race block party includes music, food and family fun with the FS19 firefighters on hand to join in the fun.

Register ($25) to run at www.morningsidemile.com or in-store at Doc Chey’s, Highland Runners, Phidippides Ansley, or Podium Multisport.  Advance race registration is required.

Visit www.morningsidemile.com or https://www.facebook.com/morningsidemile for more information.

Support Fire Station #19 at Yeah! Burger on February 17

No. 19 StationOn Tuesday February 17 from 6PM – 10PM, Yeah! Burger at 1017 N. Highland Ave. will donate 10% of sales to the Virginia-Highland Conservation League (VHCL) in support of efforts to restore the neighborhood’s historic Fire Station #19. Please consider supporting this worthwhile cause by patronizing Yeah! Burger during the dine-out.

Click here to read more about VHCA/VHCL efforts to protect this neighborhood treasure from an uncertain future.

Feel Good Tuesday Flyer

Fire Station #19 – Onward and Upward

No. 19 Fire Station c. 1920sBy Lola Carlisle

Since its opening in 1925, Fire Station 19 (FS19) has been a beloved institution in Virginia-Highland. The firefighters and the building have a unique place in this community. A lot of children in this neighborhood have climbed on its engines, and a good many of us have been treated by the EMT team housed there.

To no one’s surprise and everyone’s delight, FS19 – and its sister station FS27 in Piedmont Heights – have received a lot of attention and support from Councilmember Alex Wan since he took office in 2010.

No. 19 StationWhen the Councilmember and local resident Catherine Lewis discovered last fall that the station had been placed on the city’s 2016 replacement list, it caught everyone’s attention.  The first response was to organize a meeting to review the reasoning behind the announcement, the current status of fundraising, and the specific proposals and options for making needed changes to the building. The goal of that meeting was to develop a strategic plan to update and protect FS19.

Catherine assembled a diverse committee, and the meeting drew a lot of organizational support. The group agreed to schedule meetings with (then) Fire Chief Cochran, develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy, review the needed repairs, place funds raised by the community into a new 501(c)(3) conduit (the Virginia-Highland Conservation League, which has a very low administrative fee for donations), and add Catherine to that group’s board.

Ian Allum with DogCatherine has been involved in researching the subject from a lot of different angles; it is a task to which she is particularly well-suited.  Her resume includes being an Assistant Vice President for Museums, Archives & Rare Books at Kennesaw State University, Special Projects Coordinator for the Atlanta History Center, and President of Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries. It’s everyone’s good luck that she also lives in VaHi and is a member of the VHCA Preservation Committee.

The meetings that followed with Councilmember Wan and (then) Chief Cochran were promising. Cochran indicated that the station’s replacement status was both a result of the station’s age and a perception that it needed to be expanded. The AFD confirmed that funds had not yet been designated to tear it down or replace it, but it would remain on the 2016 replacement list.  The AFD and City of Atlanta were open to listening to other alternatives and partnering with the Virginia-Highland Civic Association to consider preserving the station in its current location.

From his post as Chair of the Finance-Executive Committee, Councilmember Wan is well-positioned to keep abreast of the city’s budgeting particulars – such as funding for new fire stations – and safety planning in general. There seem to be a large number of capital needs more critical than FS19 (which is structurally sound), but there was still concern about FS19’s future.

No. 19 with DogThe firefighters themselves also pay close attention to internal developments within the Public Safety Department, and protecting the historic station became part of last year’s Virginia-Highland Master Plan.

These are not guarantees of the station’s permanence; they’re an opportunity to use the intervening time to good advantage, and that is our approach. Cochran’s unanticipated departure as chief will necessitate a new review with his eventual successor, whenever (s)he is named. Other communities have worked with the AFD and City to raise funds and help preserve older stations, effectively removing them from “replacement.”  We can do the same.

When Councilmember Wan asked VHCL to become the effort’s financial agent last year, we readily agreed. Establishing a long-range financial plan is a necessity, along with finalizing the review and costing of specific repair plans and increasing fundraising.  In the latter category are the Breakfast with Santa at Osteria 832 (organized by Rich Chey), the Santathon fundraiser (a joint effort of VHCA and Tailfin Marketing) at the station, and other upcoming events throughout the community.

As the fundraising plan develops with the new fire chief, we hope you will support it. FS19 is a landmark in Virginia-Highland, and our goal is to keep it functioning as a fire station for as long as it’s viable. To our knowledge, the Public Safety Department believes it has a lot of life left in it. Let’s make the station safe and sound for our current firefighters and for future generations.

If you’d like to help, please contact us at preservation@vahi.org.; we’d be glad to hear from you. You can also learn more and make a tax-deductible donation here.

Fire Station #19 Santathon is On!

station19santathonWhen: Saturday, December 6th, 1PM – 8PM (Santa will arrive after he finishes Breakfast with Santa at Osteria 832)

Where: Fire Station #19, 1063 N. Highland Ave., across from Church of Our Saviour

From caroling to roasting s’mores to selfies with Santa, there will be something for everyone to enjoy at this Santathon to benefit Fire Station #19. In the spirit of holiday giving, this festive event – presented by Tailfin Marketing – is a fundraiser with proceeds going to help restore our historic fire station.

Fire Station #19 is Atlanta’s oldest continuously operating fire station, was designed by Atlanta’s City Engineer, C.E. Kaufman, and built in 1925. The station sits in the heart of Virginia-Highland and holds an important place in the hearts of VaHi residents. It is home to a 1925 American LaFrance fire engine, much like the engine that would have operated out of the fire station in its early days. The firefighters have been raising funds for several years and have plans in hand to make repairs and improvements that will preserve this fire station for years to come. Please take part and help preserve our important landmark Fire Station #19!

Starting Nov. 28th visit http://www.station19santathon.com to sign up for Santathon events by appointment. Residents and visitors are also invited to drop by and participate throughout the event.

Highland Tap Gets a Makeover

HighlandTapGrand Re-Opening and Fire Station #19 Dine Out Benefit Set For August 20

In 1989, NightCap Food & Spirits opened Highland Tap, an underground hideaway, on the soon-to-become-fashionable corner of Virginia & North Highland avenues. Nestled between what was then Tim’s Ice Cream and Chao – now Winter Wren & Fontaine’s Oyster House, respectively – Highland Tap (https://www.facebook.com/highlandtap) quickly became a neighborhood favorite known for hickory wood grilled steaks and burgers, serious martinis and a wide array of draft beer.

Fast forward 25 years: Highland Tap still delivers the same value and quality VaHi has come to expect. Steaks are hand cut, burgers are ground in house and hand-pattied, and martinis are made to perfection. Service is dependably good and the bartenders mix up cocktails just the way you like them.

On August 11th, Highland Tap will close its cellar doors and begin a week long renovation to include a new draft system with 22 tap handles, new paint, new carpet, patio improvements, stone wall restoration and an updated menu.

To celebrate their re-opening, Highland Tap is hosting a Fire Station #19 dine out benefit on Wednesday, August 20. Highland Tap will donate 20% of total August 20 sales to Atlanta’s Oldest Fire Station (http://www.vhfirecompany.com) to commemorate its shared history with this historic landmark and the Virginia Highland community.

We hope to see you in late August at the brand new Highland Tap!