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Fireboat, New York City, c. 1900

New York City fire boat in action
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_D47_NZ258
 
Document Description
New York City fireboat “The New Yorker” in action, circa 1900.
 
Questions
What kind of boat is in the photograph? 
Describe it by identifying its parts. 
How is a fireboat related to public safety?
 
Historical Challenges
Research the history of fireboats. In what year was a boat with a water pump first used to fight a fire in the United States? Are fireboats still used today?
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: How many gallons of water per second could "The New Yorker" pump?
Science: How were early fireboats powered?
 
Resources
Kalman, Maria. Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2002. ISBN: 0399239537.
Tamarin, Alfred H. Fire Fighting in America. New York: Macmillan, 1971.
 

Historical Context
The fireboat “The New Yorker” began its service on February 1, 1891.  “The New Yorker” cost $98,000 to build.  She was stationed at the Battery near Castle Garden and was part of Engine Co. 57.  “The New Yorker” was 125 feet long and weighed 243 tons.  This fireboat was able to pump 13,000 gallons of water per minute.  The crew lived on board the fireboat.  “The New Yorker” was the most powerful fireboat in the world during its day and remained in service until 1931.
 
Essential Question
How do human settlement patterns impact public safety?
 
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain why this equipment was necessary.