Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Firefighting Units on City Island in Pelham During the Early 1890s

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 For decades, Pelham's Town Historians have confined their research on the development of fire fighting units in Pelham to those units that evolved in Pelhamville and in Pelham Manor.  However, a number of volunteer fire fighting units arose in the early 1890s on City Island which was part of the Town of Pelham at the time.

I have undertaken an effort to research these early City Island volunteer fire fighting units.  Although I have only begun the effort, so far it appears that there is very little that is easily available regarding their histories.

Catherine A. Scott, who authored "Images of America:  City Island and Orchard Beach" (Great Britain:  1999, Reissued 2004), included a little information on the units in her book first published in 1999.  The information is included as a caption beneath a photograph said to depict firefighters from the Minneford Engine House.  The caption suggests that three volunteer fire fighting companies arose in City Island before the area was annexed by New York City in the mid-1890s:  Minneford Engine Company, Minneford Hose Company and the City Island Hook & Ladder Company.  The caption for the photograph reads as follows:

"Firefighters from the Minneford Engine House, a volunteer fire company on Fordham Street between William Avenue and City Island Avenue, pose c. 1900.  This was one of three volunteer fire companies protecting City Island.  The others were the Minneford Hose Company and the City Island Hook & Ladder.  In 1893 the three companies acquired a steamer fire engine, nicknaming it the 'Minneford.'  The men sponsored picnics to raise money for churches and other benefits."

Source:  Scott, Catherine A., Images of America:  City Island and Orchard Beach, p. 31 (Great Britain:  1999, Reissued 2004).  

Unsourced information in the history section of the unofficial Web site devoted to the New York City Fire Department roughly supports the references made by Catherine Scott.  The site asserts that three volunteer fire fighting units on City Island were disbanded on August 1, 1899, several years after New York City annexed the area.  According to the site, those units were:  "City Island Ladder 2", "Minneford Engine" and "Minneford Hose".  See Boucher, Mike, Bronx Volunteer Fire Departrents [sic] Information Compiled and Donated to The FDNY Home Page by Mike Boucher Dispatcher 350 SI Co. (visited Oct. 8, 2009).

Much more research must be done.  The information above, however, is a start.

Please Visit the Historic Pelham Web Site
Located at http://www.historicpelham.com/.

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