The History of The Groton Station House
The History: 20 Station Avenue, Groton
Since its opening in 1915, 20 Station Avenue has been a gathering place for Groton residents of all ages. The building was originally designed and maintained as an Odd Fellows Hall from 1915 to 1940; a meeting place for Groton’s elite fraternity chapter. After 1940, the town of Groton purchased the property and renovated the building – adding an additional 5,000 square feet – to accommodate the Groton Fire Department. This fire station had two floors; the first floor housed the two Groton fire trucks in large bay garages while the upstairs was a lounge area for the brave local firemen and firewomen to take a break between shifts. While operating as a fire station, this building welcomed numerous town programs and town groups such as the Groton Town Council, the Boy Scout headquarters, and even the site of Andrew McElroy’s alma mater, Groton’s “famed” chess club, for a number of years. Five years ago, the town granted the McElroy family the rights to purchase and reinvent this building. From the beginning, the McElroy family envisioned the transformation of this historic building from one highly-valued community center to another Groton-devoted hot spot. Today, people do not passively drive-by Station Avenue. Instead, this road leads to a fine dining restaurant that exudes quintessential New England charm. Today, locals of all ages travel down Station Avenue to entertain family and friends, share delicious food and drink, and to be a part of Groton’s rich history and culture.
5 Year Process
How did the McElroys create the Groton Station House? It began with a vision; a historically rich, uniquely Groton restaurant that would give back to the community in more ways than one. Throughout the renovation process, the family paid meticulous attention to detail in order to preserve the building’s rich history both inside and out. In order to preserve the building’s significant architectural features, the McElroys brought in an engineering team. The family and team worked together to preserve the turnbuckle construction (1915 foundational ceiling beams) that were leftover from the original building. “These turnbuckles are perhaps the only remaining example in Groton, they exemplify early 20th century New England architecture. We installed heat and air conditioning systems that do not require ductwork, therefore, our restaurant patrons will see today the fine, undisturbed architecture that an Odd Fellow would have seen in 1915.” In addition to the turnbuckle details, the McElroys preserved architectural details to honor the old Groton fire station. The fire truck bay garage doors transformed into the beautiful floor to ceiling windows that separate the main dining room and the restaurant patio.
Preserving history wasn’t the only goal during the renovation. The McElroys went to great lengths to create a harmonic flow between the Groton Station House Restaurant and the neighboring buildings on Station Avenue. Andrew McElroy explains that “the brickwork of the addition replicates the original construction, and great care has been given to matching the new quoin corners with the originals. Period-appropriate lamps illuminate the parking lot and frame the entrance. The hunter green of the lamps, working shutters, and handrails coordinates with the Groton Electric Light Department. Granite detail on the building, sidewalks, and parking lot are consistent with similar detail at the Groton Electric Light Department and Town Hall.”
After 5 years of extreme dedication, The Groton Station House opened its doors for the first time on June 3rd, 2019. As the Groton Herald stated, “The Wait is Over!”
Author: Kathryn Preston
The Original Property