The buildings to be built in the new Ormond Beach beachfront park, named the Andy Romano Park, are being patterned after the Fire House. For those familiar with the Fire House the arches, keystones, coquina rock and tower will be very recognizable. This isn't the first time this iconic local landmark has inspired City building design. The Fire House was also partial inspiration for the City gateway signage which was built a few years ago, which can be found just north of the River Grille on U.S. 1. We're a little biased but we don't think they could select a better style!
There is also another link between the Andy Romano Park and the Fire House - Andy Romano. Andy, now 88, was one of the original group who formed the first volunteer lifeguard squad in Ormond Beach, before it was even called Ormond Beach. Prior to 1950 the name of the City was simply, Ormond. It wasn't long though before the lifeguards became professionals as Ormond Beach employees, under the supervision of the chief of police, who also happened to be the fire chief, and, of course, was based at the Fire House.
Recently Andy accepted an invitation to come back and visit the Fire House and take a tour with attorney Greg Snell. Andy recounted that he moved to the area in 1935, before the Fire House was built in 1937, and Granada Avenue, as it was known then, was dirt. He remembered well the interior layout of the building, including the bays, the jail, the police desk and sleeping quarters upstairs for the chief and firemen. Of course, he also knew the former chiefs and a few stories about them. It was quite a treat to have someone with such a link to, and information, about, the Fire House on site and we are much appreciative of the time and information he was willing to share. We wish him many more years of good health and happiness and look forward to seeing him at the Park!
We are always in search of more historical information on the Fire House, including particularly photographs, or memorabilia. If you have, or know someone who has, any such information or items please let us know. We would be very grateful as we continue our attempt to build a historical account, in words and items, that can be shared with future generations.
Not long ago we induced local legendary attorney Henry Duffet, who is still very actively practicing about a block away from the Fire House, to visit too. If not mistaken Henry was a classmate of Andy's and, of course, has a vast knowledge of local history himself. His mind is still sharp as a tack and he vividly remembered the case in which he represented ousted Ormond Beach Chief Leslie McElveen, a story which was big news in the late 50's. There is more to this story to be told another day!