Some old history for the new year.

Happy 2011, to all you readers and fellow bloggers alike!

I thought it might be appropriate, even as we venture into the second decade of the third millennium, to share some history that I came across just a few days shy of the New Year.

“Original artwork of Old Engine 15″, © Michael McGurk

Inspired by an image on the cover of the most recent Capital City Firefighter magazine, I re-read the brief history posted online about the DC Fire Department. Specifically, I was scanning for this:

April 15, 1898: Engine Company 15 was placed in service at Washington & Pierce Streets, Anacostia (these streets are now 14th & V Streets S. E. respectively).  Engine 15 went in service with an 1883 Clapp & Jones 450 GPM steam fire engine and an 1889 McDermott Bros. hose reel carriage.

Well, since the street names have changed, what else about the area would have changed? My next step was finding a historic map, circa 1898.

Apparently, the University of Alabama has a serious thing about maps—their archive is quite impressive. I was able to secure three maps that I liked (as always, click for higher resolution):

The first is a portion of a US Army Corps of Engineers map from 1890. Originally drawn to show which parts of the city were damaged by sewage during a flood in June of 1889, this map had the best view of Southeast Washington on the far side of the Anacostia River. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s the intersection of Washington and Pierce Streets. I was, however, unable to find out when the streets changed their names. I suppose Anacostia (or “Uniontown,” as it was called when it was developed as a suburb) didn’t adopt the lettered/numbered street naming system until later—even though it had already been incorporated into the city of Washington by 1878. The second is a whole map from 1895, which is a detailed map of what they called the “main portion” (mostly Northwest) of D.C. This map looks very similar in style to the Rand-McNally maps we still use; even though the hyphenated term is a household name today, this map is so old that William Rand himself was CEO of the company for four more years after this was produced.

The final map is actually dated 1898, and it’s a chunk of an old US Geological Survey map. The streets aren’t written out too well, but I like how the neighborhoods are labeled in relation to one another.


Anyways, I had a good time digging up these pieces of history and I thought some of you might enjoy ‘em. I’m sure there are some old photographs kicking around the firehouse that I could put up, too. We’ll see—I’ll be sure to check during my next shift.

Now, if I could just get my hands on a copy of the highly-desirable “100 Years of Glory…”


1 Trackback

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

background image Blogger Img

Alex Capece

Washington, D.C. Firefighter and Paramedic

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Two Attitudes. | Raising Ladders
“Social Media Policy” How does it affect the bloggers?
[…] I know, I’ve held off on posting for a long time due to the social media policy our administration was holding people to. It was a difficult road to navigate—but I realized […]
2015-04-10 20:21:15
Phil Hayes
Gear Review: Blauer’s new tactical boots
Boa doesn't make the boots, they designed and license the lacing system. The Boa system has been around for a while now, it's pretty common on snowboard boots and some other sporting footwear. The boots are from Blauer, which is based in Boston.
2015-01-19 22:22:59
Captain Scott Hetrick
Gear Review: Blauer’s new tactical boots
Interesting that BOA is from my home town of Steamboat Springs, and they didn't approach our Fire Department to do a field test or even let us know that they were working on a duty boot. Small towns are funny sometimes. Captain Scott Hetrick Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue
2014-11-29 21:26:03
stephen miller
St. Baldrick’ Support a Fellow Brother Fighting Pediatric Cancer!
Great job, brethren ... be bald (bold) even off the fire ground.
2014-02-22 09:33:24
John Struve
St. Baldrick’ Support a Fellow Brother Fighting Pediatric Cancer!
As I read all the above I wondered "How does it work?" Are fire personnel asking for pledges from the public to be paid to this charity when the personnel have their heads shaved? The ad above was not clear to me. I will read it again. The charity is certainly a very worthwhile cause.…
2014-02-22 06:20:28

Alex Capece's Discussions

Follow Alex Capece
"For anyone who ever wanted to grow up and become a firefighter... from someone who did just that."
January 2011
« Dec   Feb »

FireEMS Blogs eNews

Sign-up to receive our free monthly eNewsletter