City of Tulsa Fire Station No. 8 becomes an award-winning advertising agency
7 min read
Five years ago almost to the day, our branding and advertising agency moved into Fire Station No. 8. It was decided that because the location was so iconic, we would rebrand and rename ourselves as Station8 to capitalize on the heritage and great location.
The building at 1400 S. Trenton, on the southwest corner of East 14th Street and Trenton, is placed just west of the Broken Arrow Expressway’s east-bound off-ramp to South Utica Avenue. It is perfectly situated near Tulsa’s Cherry Street District near historic Route 66, home to many fresh and unique restaurants and beautiful boutiques.
On August 1, 1925, Fire Station No. 8 first opened its doors to serve the then south Tulsa community. At the time, fire and rescue teams relied on horses to pull the water wagon. Interestingly, our station was the last station in Tulsa to stable horses. After years of dedicated service to the community, the Station was remodeled in 1967 to allow for changes in technology and size of more modern fire trucks. In the early 1990s however, the Station was decommissioned as an active station. Following this, a City of Tulsa environmental services agency took over the property and used it for office space through January 2010. Later that year, a public request for proposals (RFPs) for the sale and adaptive reuse of the Station was released by Tulsa Development Authority.
Station8 founder David Clark and local architect James Boswell saw this and decided they would like to own and remodel the Station for their businesses, and so the long journey began. In October 2010 they submitted their proposal, including plans and dreams for the Station. Two years later they were awarded the Station and renovations began, launching a new chapter in the history of this iconic Tulsa building.
The original 2026 square foot, single-story structure did not offer enough space to house a growing advertising agency and commercial architect. Some changes needed to be made. A second story, constructed predominantly of steel, aluminum and glass and stepped back to de-emphasize its impact on the original architecture, was added with vibrant 270-degree floor-to-ceiling windows. This second story would eventually become home to Station8. A beautiful west-facing balcony with a modern deck was also added, overlooking downtown Tulsa. The stable and truck bay was turned into a modern studio for James Boswell Architect. In addition, large bay doors were added to give the Station a true-to-heritage look while also providing expansive daylight for the offices and conference room.
Throughout the buildout process, preservation and sustainability were key points for the new owners. Because of this, choices made by the architect included unique ways to repurpose somewhat forgotten items and breathe new life into them. Rugged reclaimed post oak timbers were cut, stained and placed for the new stairs ascending to the second floor and for the conference room table surface. On the lower level, vintage fire doors, salvaged from the building Tulsa’s Urban Outfitters now occupies, divide the common areas and the architects’ office. The construction of the 10-car parking lot utilized repurposed chain-link fence as reinforcement of the poured concrete. The modern new bathrooms use existing stick frame roof wood salvaged from elsewhere in the building to create ceilings that match those throughout the first floor. And finally, the original limestone and brick masonry and concrete floor were preserved in their entirety, respecting the building’s heritage while making way for a new chapter.
Not only does the Station have a rich history but it’s also home to some special items that have been added since the reopening five years ago. Notably, a neon sign of Tulsa’s skyline salvaged from Full Moon Cafe South in 2002 hangs on the wall in the airy modern lobby. A circa 1907 framed American flag with only 46 stars adorns the stairway landing, commemorating the year Oklahoma became America’s 46th state. In addition, a repurposed 1972 BMW motorcycle hangs above the oak stairwell. Despite the many stories told about this bike, it’s there for one reason only: it looks cool.
Shortly after Station8 moved into the renovated Fire Station No. 8 in the summer of 2014, the company hosted an open house and invited Tulsa-area firefighters to join the celebration and see the transformation of the iconic building in person. It was at this event that we learned firefighters call themselves after their station number. As the new “Eights” of Station8 branding, we are honored to work where so many dedicated firefighters served before. We’re also proud to give one of Tulsa’s historic buildings a second life where we fire up brands for our clients. In 2018, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum visited Station8 and retired the number 8 for the city’s fire stations. We hope to make the Station’s next century as meaningful as its last.