For architect Randy Hein and pioneer descendant Susan Bishop, their decision to pursue historic preservation of local landmarks was easy.
“New should look new, old should look old,” Hein told a group at this week’s 28th annual Western History Celebration at Casper College.
Hein is the architect who helped investors Phil Schmidt and Karl Killmer turn a 90-year-old fire station at 302 S. David into a historic gem that now houses Killmer’s CPA offices.
“We pushed back the addition to pay homage to the front,” Killmer said. “You want the new to complement the old, not match it.”
The fire house was designed by the same architect who designed the majestic Natrona County High School, and both are Gothic Revival style.
Hein said restoring historic buildings and continuing to use them is a “green” thing to do.
“We want to compact the space we live in, because one of the best things about living here is our open spaces,” he said.
Hein’s presentation included a slideshow of the building before restoration began, as the restoration took place, and in its finished condition.
“It was used as a working garage, basically, for 60 years, and then stood empty for about 20,” Hein said. “There was a lot of work to be done.”
The building today includes two original brass fire poles and a conference room with 12-foot windows which allow so much natural light in that electric lights are often not needed during the day.
Spotlights at night highlight the three original garage door areas at the front, as well as the insignia “Fire Station 2” at the top of the building.
Bishop is the granddaughter of Marvin L. Bishop, who served as Casper’s postmaster from 1892 to 1898, when he founded Bishop Sheep Company. In 1907, moved his family into a home he had built at 818 East Second Street in the Capitol Hill addition, which city founders had hoped would one day become home to the state’s Capitol.
That didn’t happen, but the home, which at the time of its construction overlooked downtown Casper to the west, remains a landmark, earning a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 with a nomination written by Susan Bishop.
Marvin and Leona Bishop’s youngest daughter, Lucile, resided in the home from her birth in 1908 until her death in 1997. Other Marvin Bishop daughters Lucile, Pink and Lillian also resided at the home at one time or another during their adult lives.
Currently, Susan Bishop is president of the Cadoma Foundation, a nonprofit established to ensure historic places are “preserved in perpetuity by fostering a strong ethic supporting stewardship of historic places and acquiring, maintaining, restoring, and preserving historic buildings in the State of Wyoming,” according to its website.
W.T. Evans, founder of Evansville, was the contractor of the 15-room home, built in a Four Square Prairie Style design and much different than the single-story frame houses that comprised Casper at the time.
Since the Cadoma Foundation acquired the Bishop Home, restoration has taken place only as funds are available. The central hallway and bathrooms have been restored, water damage in a bedroom has been repaired, and regular maintenance has been done.
Beginning in May 2008, the home has been open to the public on occasion for formal teas and other special events, and is available to rent for small gatherings. The next series of teas will be held April 29-30.
Bishop said it is her desire to have the home open more frequently to the public for tours, and that depends on volunteers.