Above: Seagrave fire truck detail. Photo: Jeremy Slagle

Below: All black and white photos are from from the book Seagrave by Matthew Lee. Color photos taken 2018–present by Dylan Menges.

Interested in taking photographs at The Fort? Learn more here.

From Fire Trucks to The Fort

Fred Seagrave’s first ladders were made in his Michigan shed. But it was a buggy manufacturing town, Columbus, Ohio, where Fred found an interest in his product. In 1891, he made the move, partnering with Julius Stone, banker and owner of the Ohio Buggy Company. They formed The Seagrave Company and moved to 2000 South High Street, calling it home for 63 years. They survived the depression, and ended 1949 with equipment backorders totaling over two million dollars. Profits drove diversification, new partners and products. Eventually, the fire apparatus side of the business needed a capital outlay for a new plant and tooling. It was profitable, but not as much as other divisions. In 1963, the fire engine operation in Columbus was sold to The FWD Corporation. And in ‘65, FWD moved the operation to its headquarters in Clintonville, Wisconsin.

Evidence of the Seagrave story is everywhere here: giant communal wash basins, massive doors, and beams designed to move heavy equipment out the door and around the world.

In 2017, longtime Columbus furniture company, Fortner Upholstering, consolidated from three manufacturing facilities to one in the historic array of buildings at 2000-2050 S. High St. The legacy of craftsmanship within these walls making it the perfect home for them. After working to make the space safe and dry, in 2018, began to open up other areas of the campus for lease.

Now, as we welcome 2019 there are now over 20 other businesses (and growing every month) within the main campus. We have expanded our footprint to include two neighboring properties, 2108 and 2025 S. High St. which have brought in three more neighbors, including an event space and a brewery.

Opportunities abound for these beautiful buildings and for the long neglected Steelton Village in which they sit.

Come be a part of our exciting future!

Justin and Glenn McAllister