When the former Fire Alarm at 1709 E. Wisconsin Ave., Appleton, was sold by its bank owner in July to the adjacent St. Joseph Cemetery, the building’s future was unknown. Was it destined for the wrecking ball?
That may happen someday, but for the foreseeable future, it will remain standing.
“We cleaned the exterior up and are making it more presentable,” cemetery president Frank Groh said. “Right now, we’re using it for equipment storage with no immediate plans for anything to happen anytime soon.”
Meanwhile, the cemetery broke ground last week for a new mausoleum, but it’s between the chapel and Monte Alverno on the property’s eastern side, far from the Fire Alarm.
The Fire Alarm building started out in 1929 as a chicken hatchery and was transformed into a thriving dance club by John and Richard Bergstrom in 1975.
“John Bergstrom sold the Fire Alarm to my dad in 1977,” Scott Telin of Appleton said. “My dad, Gene Telin, owned the disco in its heyday, the height of the disco boom, from 1977 to 1985.”
As teens, Scott Telin and his brothers worked on the club’s cleaning crew. They maintained the dance floor and fire truck, the bar’s showpiece.
“I remembering waxing the fire truck a few times,” he said. “We changed bulbs in the lighted dance floor and sprayed silicone on it so people could do ‘the Hustle.’”
(FYI: “The Hustle” was both a dance and a hit disco song by Van McCoy & the Soul City Symphony.)
— Maureen Wallenfang: 920-993-1000, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org