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Exploring Newtown’s Historical Places: The Old Dodgingtown Firehouse



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Discover the past and present of some of Newtown’s lesser-known historical sites in The Newtown Bee’s new series dedicated to retracing the role these places once played in town and what they stand as today.

Formerly: The Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company’s Firehouse

Currently: A Housatonic Valley Waldorf School classroom

Location: 40 Dodgingtown Road

When was it built or established? The fire company was incorporated in 1911, and the building was constructed shortly thereafter in 1912 thanks to Dodgingtown resident Al Bevans (born 1871). He had owned the land before donating it to the fire company.

What is its historical significance? Mr Bevans and his father, Eleazer C. Bevans, were very active in the Dodgingtown community. They played key roles in creating the Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company, which was the second fire department to be established in Newtown.

In A Mosaic of Newtown History by Town Historian Daniel Cruson, it details that the former building, “consisted of a large main room with an immense garage door in the end facing Route 302, through which the fire engine exited the building. It also allowed the engine to be parked out on the road when dances or other neighborhood social occasions demanded.”

Mr Bevans served as the first chief of the fire company and was quite the “mover and shaker,” according to Mr Cruson.

Not only was Mr Bevans a fireman, but he was also a restaurateur, farmer, hat manufacturer, lightning rod salesman, painter, musician, and all-around entertainer. Mr Bevans frequently played banjo on stage at the firehouse when they would roll the fire truck out of the single-bay door and host dances.

“He had a band that played old time dance music, especially in the 1920s and 1930s,” Mr Cruson explained. “When radio came along, he also was a featured band leader on WICC out of Bridgeport. He was known for that.”

Mr Bevans even incorporated his passion for art at the firehouse by creating a mural.

While there are no photos of the wall art that Mr Cruson is aware of, Mr Bevan’s painting is said to have included somewhat of a self-portrait (his face on a New Year’s cherub’s body), a floral pattern on each side of a proscenium arch, as well as a two-foot-tall mural extending along the top of the walls. It showed a travel log of people in a car where the person admiring the art could trace where the car was going as it visited fictional landmarks.

What occupies it today? In 1953, the Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company moved its firehouse down the street to 55 Dodgingtown Road, where it is currently located. In doing so, it was able to expand and house more than one fire truck. The new building later underwent renovations in 2009.

The 40 Dodgingtown Road property is now home to the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, which purchased it in April 2000 from the Newtown Montessori School.

Shortly after the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School came to town, it bought some surrounding properties, including 51 Dodgingtown Road and 36 Dodgingtown Road.

Enrollment Director Therese Lederer said when the school first acquired the old Dodgingtown Firehouse, the roof was caving in and it was not usable.

In 2009, the building was completely demolished and rebuilt in a similar sized blueprint. In August 2010, renovations were completed, and the building became a classroom.

For a period of time, the school called the building the Early Childhood Cottage, but today it is known as Star Meadow.

Interested in learning more about a specific historical place in Newtown? Send suggestions to features reporter Alissa Silber at alissa@thebee.com or call 203-426-3141.

Housatonic Valley Waldorf School’s Star Meadow classroom building is on the site where the original Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company Firehouse was located at 40 Dodgingtown Road. —Bee Photo, Silber
On June 26, 2009, the Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company posted about half a dozen images to its Facebook page of the former firehouse being demolished. Its caption reads, “The Original Dodgingtown Firehouse was located on the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School property on Route 302 in Dodgingtown and was torn down by the school in May 2009.” —Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company, No. 1 Inc photo
The Housatonic Valley Waldorf School has the original hand-painted Star Meadow sign. —Bee Photo, Silber
In the Administration Office across the street from the Star Meadow building, the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School has their original “looking for a new home” flyer hanging up. —Bee Photo, Silber
Next door to the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School’s Star Meadow building, which was formerly the Dodgingtown firehouse, is the Rose Garden building, pictured here. The Rose Garden building was formerly Al Bevans’ lunch stand/restaurant believed to be once called The Flying Goose. —Bee Photo, Silber
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