ACTION ALERT! 

Attention Saint James residents! Join us in supporting your historic firehouse at 533 NY-25A/North Country Road, Saint James, NY. Please contact your local elected officials to let them know you support public funding for the repairs and rehabilitation at Saint James Firehouse!

Front façade of historic Saint James Firehouse. See Conditions Assessment Report (2020) by Architectural Preservation Studio, DPC.

Why is Saint James Firehouse historically significant?

Built in 1925, this active firehouse has been in continuous use for over 95 years. The site is a celebrated neighborhood landmark, reflecting local civic history and the legacy of generations of volunteer firefighters and first responders.

Local architect Lawrence Smith Butler (1875–1954), a descendant of the town’s founder Richard “Bull” Smythe, designed this prominent civic structure. Butler also designed Smithtown’s Town Hall (built 1912) and spearheaded plans for the iconic Whisper the Bull statue at the intersection of Routes 25 and 25A. In 1967, a major expansion to Saint James Firehouse added three bays to the original three-bay structure.

Saint James Firehouse is a noteworthy Italian Renaissance/Spanish Revival-style building with white-painted stucco and striking red details. The property is recognized as a contributing resource of surrounding Saint James National Register Historic District. Prominently located on historic Route 25A/North Country Road, a major East-West thoroughfare of the Long Island’s North Shore, Saint James Firehouse is seen by thousands of motorists every day.

Interior of main hall at historic Saint James Firehouse. See Conditions Assessment Report (2020) by Architectural Preservation Studio, DPC.

Why is Saint James Firehouse endangered?

On June 16, 2018, Head of the Harbor Village resident Troy Rosasco led a successful “vote no” rally to prevent the sale of the property. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh for TBR News Media.

A plan to liquidate the historic firehouse and replace it with new construction was rejected by community members in 2018. However, the firehouse continues to lack necessary funding and municipal support to conduct urgently needed repairs.

Unfortunately, Saint James Firehouse is not alone in facing these threats. Increasing demand for emergency services, coupled with raising costs of operations and infrastructure, often result in the liquidation and demolition of publicly-owned historic firehouses across Long Island. There are a few noteworthy exceptions, like the Sea Cliff Firehouse, where the Village of Sea Cliff completed award-winning rehabilitation work to keep its historic firehouse in active service while protecting the legacy and architectural integrity of the landmarked building.

Image courtesy of Saint James Fire District.

How can Saint James Firehouse be preserved?

Preservation Long Island joins the Saint James Fire District and local community members in advocating for the following:

• Raise public awareness and support for addressing preservation needs at Saint James Firehouse and other historic firehouses still in active service throughout our region.

• Secure public funding and raise dollar-for-dollar matching contributions from private donors to conduct urgently needed roof restoration at Saint James Firehouse.

• Develop comprehensive long-term preservation plans that support the continued operation of historic firehouses on Long Island still in active service.

Image courtesy of Saint James Fire District.

Preservation Long Island’s Endangered Historic Places Program is made possible in part by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.