An artist who sought historical fire stations to feature in his 2019 calendar says Gainesville Fire Station No. 3 was one of the few he could find that were still in use.
George Boutwell painted Station No. 3 as part of a series of 12 paintings of historical Texas fire stations whose structures were basically unchanged and that were still in use. The series makes up Boutwell’s 2019 calendar and the Gainesville fire station is shown for the month of May.
Boutwell, who lives near Clifton, is a regular at Muenster’s Germanfest, he said. He has produced a calendar featuring some aspect of Texas history or scenery each year for more than three decades. When he first settled on the “classic fire station” theme for his 2019 calendar, he didn’t realize how difficult it would be.
“It’s a thing that’s going away, the old stations,” he said. “And they were pretty nice buildings — I wanted to preserve some of them in pictures.”
However “I had trouble finding 12 of the old ones that were still operating. That was the criteria, they still had to be operating,” he added. He wanted to feature stations that were basically still in their original form, too, he said, which disqualified still more. “There were some of them that had modern add-ons and things like that.”
Cooke County Fire Marshal Ray Fletcher heard about Boutwell’s project and suggested the Gainesville fire station, Boutwell said.
“I was at the time realizing how difficult it would be, so I jumped all over the chance to take pictures of that one and include it,” Boutwell said. He visited the station the weekend of Germanfest last year and took numerous photographs on which to base his painting.
The painting depicts the fire station sheltering two antique fire engines, too. Boutwell said he based those on antique fire engines he found in a few fire museums across the state.
The building’s use as a fire station is slated to cease this year once a new Fire Station No. 3 goes up at Culberson and Bird streets. Boutwell said he had learned that in the course of his research for the calendar. Two others in the calendar will also cease being used as fire stations sometime soon, he said.
“So my timing was pretty good on this,” Boutwell said. “If I’d waited another year or two, I probably wouldn’t have been able to put a calendar together.”
Boutwell said someone had purchased the original painting in order to donate it to Gainesville Fire-Rescue for display in the new fire station being built this year. The donor wished to remain anonymous.
Boutwell’s “Texas Classic Fire Station” calendar is available from his website, gboutwell.com.