109 Hillman Street is a Romanesque Revival firehouse constructed between 1892 and 1893. It originally served as the Engine No. 5 House, one of the many neighborhood fire stations in New Bedford, and later served as the City’s Civil Defense headquarters. Constricted of red brick with granite and decorative terracotta accents, it is rectangular in plan and has a hip roof with a front gable. A square, hipped-roof hose tower and a one-story office room with curved exterior walls and a flat roof project from its east elevation. Alterations to the building include the enlargement of one of the two original arched entry bays on the facade around the 1950’s and the removal of the original dormers along the east and west roof elevations. The development site is 0.149 acres.
The building has been vacant for years and has suffered from considerable neglect and water infiltration. The roof has several holes, particularly where the dormers were removed and insufficiently patched with sheets of plywood. The masonry is showing signs of stress from water infiltration along the cornice line and around several windows. The building was slated for demolition by the city, however, because of the importance of the structure as a historic landmark and its contribution to the history and historic fabric of the neighborhood, WHALE and the city are working together to save and re-use it for much needed affordable and workforce housing.
This project is to restore and rehabilitate the building for residential use. The roof will be repaired and replaced, new dormers will be reconstructed following the footprints of the original dormers, and the masonry will be restored. The interior will be restored and rehabilitated to accommodate nine units of mixed-income community housing, including 6 affordable and 3 workforce.