Roosevelt Island Firehouse

Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
3,784
Before the Bridge from QNS to the Island was built there was an elevator in service up on the Queensboro / 59 St Bridge over the Island..... it could handle a car or a Pumper but no Ladder Rigs....with some of the old Pumpers they had to unbolt the front bumper to fit it into the elevator.....the elevator is no longer in service but as you cross the Bridge heading from QNS to MANH you can see the little setback along the way.

I believe the Ahrens Fox pumpers had a folding rear step to allow them to use the elevator.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
221
There was also a ferry from 77 St. to Welfare (Blackwells) Island. It did not carry vehicles, only passengers and was eliminated in the mid 50's around the time the bridge to the island opened. That might account for the 10th. Battalion being assigned.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
817
Thanks fdhistorian for explaining the Engine 51 issue with the move to E43's former berth.
Obviously, over the next several decades the fireboat landscape changed in Manhattan. The berths at West 13th Street and East 99th Street were abandoned. New stations were established on the North River; E85 at West 35th Street and E86 at the foot of Bloomfield Street. The 99th Street station moved south to Gracie Mansion at 90th Street and another boat was created (E87) on the Harlem River at 135th Street Now, why did Engine 16 get assigned to all three islands? Clearly, there were more ferryboat slips (eg the Yorkville at 86th Street). Other companies that could have responded were Engine 22(with the 10th) at 159 East 85th Street, Engine 35 at 223 East 119th Street, Engine 36 at 1849 Park Avenue (right around the corner from 14 Truck), Engine 53 at 175 East 104th Street, Engine 60 at 606 East 137th Street, Ladder 13 at 159 East 87th Street, or even Ladder 17 at 589 East 143 Street (with the 14th). Perhaps Engine 16 carried more manpower. Perhaps they didn't want to strip uptown fire protection for prolonged times (it's hard to tap in service from a ferry boat). Maybe no one else wanted the job?
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2013
Messages
825
Thanks fdhistorian for explaining the Engine 51 issue with the move to E43's former berth.
Now, why did Engine 16 get assigned to all three islands? Clearly, there were more ferryboat slips (eg the Yorkville at 86th Street). Other companies that could have responded were Engine 22(with the 10th) at 159 East 85th Street, Engine 35 at 223 East 119th Street, Engine 36 at 1849 Park Avenue (right around the corner from 14 Truck), Engine 53 at 175 East 104th Street, Engine 60 at 606 East 137th Street, Ladder 13 at 159 East 87th Street, or even Ladder 17 at 589 East 143 Street (with the 14th).f Bloomfield Street. The 99th Street station moved south to Gracie Mansion at 90th Street and another boat was created (E87) on the Harlem River at Perhaps Engine 16 carried more manpower. Perhaps they didn't want to strip uptown fire protection for prolonged times (it's hard to tap in service from a ferry boat). Maybe no one else wanted the job?

Engine 16 had two sections from 1883 to 1939. No need to cover them if one section went to the islands.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
817
So it was more manpower. Still, it seems one of the other companies would be closer, especially to Ward's and Randall's Islands. Why couldn't they just relocate the first section of 16's uptown?
 
Joined
Mar 8, 2007
Messages
5,392
Rear step was modified to fold up on 1938-39 Ahrens-Fox pumpers of companies that used to respond to Welfare Island.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2013
Messages
825
So it was more manpower. Still, it seems one of the other companies would be closer, especially to Ward's and Randall's Islands. Why couldn't they just relocate the first section of 16's uptown?
Being 'closer' doesn't help much if the company cannot get there. Land engines cannot cross the river. (Upsets the horses.) A fireboat can get there but it doesn't leave the water. (Damages the hull)
In 1908, the bridges had not yet been built; all companies were horse drawn, and relocations were minimal because many companies had second sections. Not all ferries to the islands may have been available 24/7 and not all ferries might have had capability to transport apparatus and horses. Engine 160 (at the time, 260 today) was even closer, but again - no bridges yet. The islands were used for prisons and psych hospitals, lock down type institutions. Engine 49 was a combination company with steamer, hose and ladder apparatus - more then, than what is available on Riker's Island today.
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2016
Messages
2,168
Being 'closer' doesn't help much if the company cannot get there. Land engines cannot cross the river. (Upsets the horses.) A fireboat can get there but it doesn't leave the water. (Damages the hull)
In 1908, the bridges had not yet been built; all companies were horse drawn, and relocations were minimal because many companies had second sections. Not all ferries to the islands may have been available 24/7 and not all ferries might have had capability to transport apparatus and horses. Engine 160 (at the time, 260 today) was even closer, but again - no bridges yet. The islands were used for prisons and psych hospitals, lock down type institutions. Engine 49 was a combination company with steamer, hose and ladder apparatus - more then, than what is available on Riker's Island today.
Very cool info.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2023
Messages
3
Being 'closer' doesn't help much if the company cannot get there. Land engines cannot cross the river. (Upsets the horses.) A fireboat can get there but it doesn't leave the water. (Damages the hull)
In 1908, the bridges had not yet been built; all companies were horse drawn, and relocations were minimal because many companies had second sections. Not all ferries to the islands may have been available 24/7 and not all ferries might have had capability to transport apparatus and horses. Engine 160 (at the time, 260 today) was even closer, but again - no bridges yet. The islands were used for prisons and psych hospitals, lock down type institutions. Engine 49 was a combination company with steamer, hose and ladder apparatus - more then, than what is available on Riker's Island today.
Hi FD & All - this is an old topic I am bringing up - a little late to the game but I just discovered this link while researching my ancestors and was wondering where is the best literature out there (and research sources on the history of Co. 49 on Blackwell Island. and NYC Fire Co. in general in the late 1800's early 1900's). My great grandfather was the fire captain at CO 49 and before that he was with Engine Co 34 also on the east side (NYC FDR) in the late 1800's. Appreciate your knowledge. Thanks
 

Attachments

  • IMG_1910.JPG
    IMG_1910.JPG
    173.9 KB · Views: 12
  • IMG_1911.JPG
    IMG_1911.JPG
    266.4 KB · Views: 12
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
1,438
Doigj193,

The best place for you to start is at the Mand Library at the FDNY Training Academy on Randall's Island under the RFK Bridge. A Mr. Fred Melahn is in residence there and has a wealth of knowledge. Ask if you need more specifics re access. The library has a history folder on each FDNY unit, active or defunct.
Also try the New York Historical Society on Central Park West in Manhattan.
Good Luck. Let us know what you discover. This Forum would love it.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2023
Messages
3
Doigj193,

The best place for you to start is at the Mand Library at the FDNY Training Academy on Randall's Island under the RFK Bridge. A Mr. Fred Melahn is in residence there and has a wealth of knowledge. Ask if you need more specifics re access. The library has a history folder on each FDNY unit, active or defunct.
Also try the New York Historical Society on Central Park West in Manhattan.
Good Luck. Let us know what you discover. This Forum would love it.
Thank you very much 3511 - I will make it a plan to visit Mand Library and give the NY Historical Society a call. Much appreciated. My family has a few articles on my grandfather Sherrick - the attached discussing Blackwell Island Co 49 back in 1905 - 2nd column "Three Fires a Year". As you zoom in the print becomes very clear. We have searched NYS Historical Newspapers - a very good search tool. https://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/#
 

Attachments

  • Evening POST 3:25:1905.pdf
    656.7 KB · Views: 10
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
1,438
Thank you very much 3511 - I will make it a plan to visit Mand Library and give the NY Historical Society a call. Much appreciated. My family has a few articles on my grandfather Sherrick - the attached discussing Blackwell Island Co 49 back in 1905 - 2nd column "Three Fires a Year". As you zoom in the print becomes very clear. We have searched NYS Historical Newspapers - a very good search tool. https://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/#
This is a great article, Dougj193! What a glimpse into the past. As I said, please share what else you discover.
 
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
15,018
I went to proby school in 1968 on Welfare Island (now Roosevelt Island).....there were several bldgs there that the FDNY used....the Mask Service Unit was in one bldg used for Mask Repairs & they also had a CD Pumper that two FFs from MSU would use to Respond to any Class 3 Alarms in the two Hospitals on the Island..... another bldg was classrooms...a lunch room & the proby locker room ......another bldg was the Drill Tower which had an apparatus type bay on the ground floor used for indoor instructions like Fittings & other Evolutions....also there was the infamous one story steel shuttered Smoke House ....as mentioned earlier I also seem to remember a WNYF article on the bldgs.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2013
Messages
825
Hi FD & All - this is an old topic I am bringing up - a little late to the game but I just discovered this link while researching my ancestors and was wondering where is the best literature out there (and research sources on the history of Co. 49 on Blackwell Island. and NYC Fire Co. in general in the late 1800's early 1900's). My great grandfather was the fire captain at CO 49 and before that he was with Engine Co 34 also on the east side (NYC FDR) in the late 1800's. Appreciate your knowledge. Thanks
In the HISTORY section on this site, forum FDNY, sub forum Houses/Stations, Mack has posted loads of information, photos, articles and links about Engine 49 and the history of Blackwells/Welfare/Roosevelt Island. Take a look at these pages:

FDNY and NYC Firehouses and Fire Companies


https://www.nycfire.net/forums/threads/fdny-and-nyc-firehouses-and-fire-companies.14180/page-6

https://www.nycfire.net/forums/threads/fdny-and-nyc-firehouses-and-fire-companies.14180/page-57

https://www.nycfire.net/forums/threads/fdny-and-nyc-firehouses-and-fire-companies.14180/page-90

https://www.nycfire.net/forums/threads/fdny-and-nyc-firehouses-and-fire-companies.14180/page-109
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2023
Messages
3
In the HISTORY section on this site, forum FDNY, sub forum Houses/Stations, Mack has posted loads of information, photos, articles and links about Engine 49 and the history of Blackwells/Welfare/Roosevelt Island. Take a look at these pages:

FDNY and NYC Firehouses and Fire Companies


https://www.nycfire.net/forums/threads/fdny-and-nyc-firehouses-and-fire-companies.14180/page-6

https://www.nycfire.net/forums/threads/fdny-and-nyc-firehouses-and-fire-companies.14180/page-57

https://www.nycfire.net/forums/threads/fdny-and-nyc-firehouses-and-fire-companies.14180/page-90

https://www.nycfire.net/forums/threads/fdny-and-nyc-firehouses-and-fire-companies.14180/page-109
FD - Thank you very much for the information and links. I see in your first link a picture of CO 49 from what I guess to be in 1960 that looks abandoned? Per the write-up underneath the photo "Pictures of old Engine 49 quarters when FDNY Fire Academy was established in 1960s:"?

I located a very good photo of the CO 49 that goes back to 1892 from the Mystic Seaport Museum - attached. (I forget now what I read, that it was constructed in 1882 or 1888?). From the 1905 article I had - that lines up with the journalist's description of 3 floors - with living quarters on the 2nd floor, mess hall and Captain's quarters on the 3rd floor. Was/is that standard layout for firehouses in NYC?

This link below from the Mystic Seaport Museum has many other photos (many ship related) that you can page thru and interestingly in 1892 there was also a Steamer called the City Of Norwalk that sunk at Blackwell Island after colliding with other floats and they were using other vessels to unload the freight on the island. There are several photos of this including a photo of the other floats destroyed.

 

Attachments

  • Eng. Co 49 Blackwell ISl. March 1892.jpeg
    Eng. Co 49 Blackwell ISl. March 1892.jpeg
    38.5 KB · Views: 5
Joined
Sep 25, 2013
Messages
825
FD - Thank you very much for the information and links. I see in your first link a picture of CO 49 from what I guess to be in 1960 that looks abandoned? Per the write-up underneath the photo "Pictures of old Engine 49 quarters when FDNY Fire Academy was established in 1960s:"?

I located a very good photo of the CO 49 that goes back to 1892 from the Mystic Seaport Museum - attached. (I forget now what I read, that it was constructed in 1882 or 1888?). From the 1905 article I had - that lines up with the journalist's description of 3 floors - with living quarters on the 2nd floor, mess hall and Captain's quarters on the 3rd floor. Was/is that standard layout for firehouses in NYC?

This link below from the Mystic Seaport Museum has many other photos (many ship related) that you can page thru and interestingly in 1892 there was also a Steamer called the City Of Norwalk that sunk at Blackwell Island after colliding with other floats and they were using other vessels to unload the freight on the island. There are several photos of this including a photo of the other floats destroyed.

The pictured firehouse was constructed in 1882. The firehouse pictured with a tiller in front was constructed in 1949. Engine 49 was always a combination company (one crew staffing engine and ladder apparatus). The 750 Main St firehouse was constructed in 1981. The Fire Academy moved to the island circa 1962.
 
Top