- Associated Press - Monday, November 3, 2014

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - Lockers used by Aberdeen firefighters are still on display at old Fire Station No. 2. Four or five fire hoses are stacked around the building.

One day, there will even be a fireman’s pole back inside the station.

Dave Usselman and his family aren’t done converting the old fire hall into a lodge. But the place is being used for overnight accommodations.

Recently, five pheasant hunters stayed for a weekend at the former fire house. Over the last several years, it has also housed construction workers doing work in the area.

Many of the hunters who stay at the fire hall will be overflow from the Usselmans’ other business - the Double Barrel Inn and Half Cocked Lodge.

In addition to providing overnight lodging, Usselman sees the building playing host to birthday gatherings and retirement parties.

When it’s done, it will be called the Aberdeen Fire House Lodge.

The Usselman family bought the fire station in 2009. They paid $120,000 for it and the three lots north of the building.

The fire hall was built in 1930.

“This was the second-oldest working fire station in South Dakota when the city sold it,” Usselman said.

Explaining the purchase, Usselman said the family didn’t want to see the fire hall used as a house “where only one small group of people can enjoy it.”

Since they purchased it, they basically “just got it back in working order,” Usselman said. They tried to “keep everything as natural as possible.”

Usselman likes restoring things. The building was completely empty when the Usselmans bought it. They’ve acquired objects, like the fire hoses, elsewhere.

One person who gives Usselman a lot of assistance is his son, Dustin.

Even though the building is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Usselmans tried to do “as much updating as we can without changing really anything, I guess. We just want to keep the integrity, appreciate it like it was,” Dave Usselman said.

The family has installed a new heating system and still wants to add insulation to make the two-story building more energy-efficient.

In addition, Dave Usselman thinks it would be great to get a fire pole back in the building. The people he’s talked to have no idea what became of the original pole. So he’s going to look for another.

The lodge sleeps a dozen people. The upstairs portion of the building is all but done.

Dave Usselman hasn’t been able to devote as much time as he’d like to the project because of his other commitments. Besides the hunting lodge near Mina, he farms and is a full-time employee of the Aberdeen Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

Although the building is being used somewhat, Dave Usselman hasn’t promoted it because he knows he has more work to do.

The family is anxious to get it done. But with a project like this, “We don’t want to just do it. We want to do it right,” Dave Usselman said.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

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