JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A historical moment for the city of Jacksonville occurred on Saturday morning, when an entire building traveled down the streets.
The Jacksonville Fire Museum made the trip from the metropolitan park in front of TIAA Bank field less than 1 mile down the road to 620 E. Bay Street.
“Your standing next to this thing watching it be moved down and you see the size of the building and it’s just amazing," said Bill Gallup, a Jacksonville resident.
Loaded onto a truck bed, the Jacksonville fire museum slowly made the journey to its new home.
The move was not easy.
Workers had to dig out the tires, and machines laid down what looked like concrete slabs to guide the path. East Bay Street was covered with a layer of dirt, added cushion for the over 100-year-old building.
It’s the second move for the museum. The structure was originally built in the early 1900’s as Fire Station 3.
“It was first moved back in the 1960s when they built the new police memorial building, it was in the way, so they built the building around it first. Then in the 70’s, they moved it to metropolitan park, and now it’s being moved back within almost 50 feet from where it was originally located in 1903," said Dr. Wayne Wood, a member of the board of directors for the Jacksonville Fire Museum.
The museum closed around six years ago for renovations. Inside, exhibits and artifacts showing the evolution of the city's fire service, things like the first motorized fire vehicles and equipment for the first Hazardous Materials team.
The final destination for the museum is 620 E. Bay St where it will join the proposed Jacksonville Naval Museum which will also feature the USS Orleck. It’s all part of the city’s plans to turn the area into a park and museum destination.
The move clears the way for Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan's development of the Shipyards Project. Khan's Iguana Investments Florida LLC. will be responsible for redeveloping about 10-acres of property along the Northbank in Downtown Jacksonville. The project includes the construction of a Four Seasons Hotel, condominiums, and a six-story building with office space.
Dr. Wood said the new location will bring life back to the old building.
“The old location at the metropolitan park was out of the way The fire museum faced away from the street, now’s it’s going to be on Bay street facing towards the street, just like it should be as a fire station. And we’ll be able to park antique fire trucks out in front of it," he explained.
It could take a while to get the building settled on its foundation, but the hope is that the museum will be opened by the end of 2022.