Newly renovated craft brewery site is rich in history

File photo Members of what was then Nashua Fire Department pose with their steam powered apparatus and the department's horses outside the former Central Fire Station around the turn of the 20th century. The building in background was Nashua Police headquarters at the time, and is now the home of American Legion James E. Coffey Post 3.

Jason Palmer, co-owner of downtown Nashua’s newest craft beer brewery Liquid Therapy, wondered aloud Saturday what “these walls” might say “if they could talk.”

Well, maybe they’d say something like, “c’mon, Daisy … c’mon, Gip, we’re goin’ to a fire.” Or perhaps, “hey, Walt, was that ‘113’ or ‘133’ on the Gamewell?”

I bet whatever “these walls” would have to say would be nothing short of fascinating – if, of course, they had that ability. But since walls cannot talk, at least on this side of the Twilight Zone, finding things that were written about them is about as close as we can get.

First, Saturday was a big day at Liquid Therapy, where Palmer, co-owner Stan Tremblay, an eager staff of servers and plenty of visitors celebrated the nanobrewery’s official grand opening – although they’ve been pouring craft beverages and serving up snacks for a few months now.

And I’ll say this: They picked the perfect location. No, not just because their entrance is a mere 40 yards at most from our rear exit here at The Telegraph, but because it is also only a few minutes walk from a whole bunch of places of interest in the city’s downtown.

File photo A firefighter poses for a photo in the old Central Fire Station while holding the reins of "Daisy" and "Gip," two of the horses that pulled steam powered apparatus to fires up until the early 20th century. Today, part of this space is occupied by Liquid Therapy, a nanobrewery that celebrated its grand opening Saturday.

Speaking of places of interest, few locations in Nashua are as steeped in city history as Liquid Therapy’s new home. To a first-time visitor, it may take some doing to look around and imagine steam-powered firefighting apparatus parked about where the bar is, and behind it, a couple of large stalls filled with oats and hay that the aforementioned Daisy and Gip once called home.

And if you look up, you’ll see gorgeous wooden beams outfitted with the mandatory fire-suppression system known as sprinklers and strategically-placed electric lighting – just two of many “modern conveniences” unheard of back when bricklayers and carpenters toiled long hours through many long days to erect Nashua’s very first fire station.

Built throughout 1870 and dedicated Feb. 9, 1871 – just over 148 years ago Saturday – the three-bay station was initially referred to as “the steam fire engine house,” an appropriate moniker in that the first motor-driven fire engine didn’t cross the threshold until 1917.

According to a Telegraph story at the time, the Aldermanic committee in charge of “motorizing the Central Fire Station” voted for the issuance of a $25,000 bond to buy not just one engine, but a “combination hose wagon booster” – later known as a pump, or pumper truck – and a “special ladder truck” as well.

Interestingly, three aldermen named Broderick, Brogan and Glynn, who for whatever reason opposed the motorization of the fire department, “tried to railroad the report into the next board,” according to the story.

File photo Steam powered firefighting apparatus, drawn by horses whose stalls are in the background, sit in the old Central Fire Station awaiting a call around the turn of the 20th century. Today, part of the space is occupied by Liquid Therapy, a nanobrewery that celebrated its grand opening Saturday.

An earlier Telegraph story, from 1870 – one year after the newspaper went from a weekly to a six-day-a-week daily – reported that the Olive Street Chapel was being moved to the “southeast corner of the church, in the rear of the parsonage,” to make room for the construction of the fire house.

When I first started chasing fire trucks (only because it became part of my job, of course), Central Station housed Engines 14, 4, and Ladder 4, the deputy chief’s car, and I think maybe that old war-surplus four-by-four called Forestry 1 that started maybe 60 percent of the time.

By 1970, the station’s 100th year, the department had outgrown the place, setting in motion plans to build a new station in southwestern Nashua, which became Station 6, at Main Dunstable and Conant roads.

Fire alarm headquarters remained at Central for a time, until moving to its present location at the former Lake Street station.

In the mid-1970s, Nashua’s growing Arts and Science Center – later the Nashua Center for the Arts – renovated the old station, and moved in. The building was reconfigured some years later to house the Jan B. Streeter Theater, which left some spaces unoccupied – until Liquid Therapy came along.

Find out more about Liquid Therapy at www.liquidtherapynh.com.

Dean Shalhoup’s column appears Sundays in The Telegraph.