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Brought to you by The Developing Librarian team at Columbia University

Engine Company No. 47

This exhibit provides a history of Engine Company No. 47 from its beginnings as a combination engine company in 1882 through motorization in 1920.   From 1883 to 1887, the company housed the Fire Department's first School of Instruction and Life-Saving Corps in its firehouse at 97th and Tenth Avenue.  These programs trained and tested recruits and firemen, anticipating New York City's later adoption of Civil Service laws.  In 1891, the company moved north to its handsome, newly completed brick firehouse on 113th Street.  That year the company responded to 83 alarms, by 1911 the number would grow to 341.  During these years, the firemen of Engine Company No. 47 served continuous duty, meaning that they were allowed only three hours a day away from the firehouse for meals and to see their families.  In January 1920, Engine Company 47 moved to a two-platoon system and in August, the fire horses of Engine 47 were retired, and it became the last company in Manhattan to be motorized.

The exhibit draws on the rich collections and staff expertise of the George F. Mand Library.  I am grateful for the use of images and documents from the library and especially for research assistance from Fire Marshal Daniel Maye and his colleagues.


Sarah Witte