Conservancy Emergency Grant Helps Restore Historic Fireboat
Conservancy Emergency Grant Helps Restore Historic FireboatJohn J. Harvey Fireboat in Drydock
Conservancy Emergency Grant Helps Restore Historic FireboatFireboat ready for yard
Conservancy Emergency Grant Helps Restore Historic FireboatBlasting aft weather deck
Conservancy Emergency Grant Helps Restore Historic FireboatBlasting gunwale
A Conservancy challenge grant of $7,500 to Save Our Ships New York (SOSNY) helped raise another $7,500 to pay for immediately needed water protection work to the deck of the historic fireboat, John J. Harvey. In late February, Huntley Gill of SOSNY came to the Conservancy for help in paying for this final piece of a larger, long-term restoration project costing approximately $365,000.
Harvey is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. She was designed by Henry J. Gielow, and built in 1931 in Brooklyn specifically for the purpose of fighting fires. The first of her type to be powered by internal combustion engines rather than steam, Harvey was the most powerful fireboat in the world at the time. Her design served as the prototype for generations of fireboats around the world, with innovative systems that included electric propulsion powered by five engines and generators.
Harvey was retired by the New York City Fire Department in 1994 and purchased at auction in 1999 by a small group of people concerned about the long-term preservation of historic vessels and the traditions of New York’s maritime history. They formed a nonprofit organization, Save Our Ships New York, to fund the restoration of the John J. Harvey and to conduct the free seasonal public programs and educational trips in New York harbor, Long Island Sound and the Hudson River Valley that are now carried out aboard the fireboat.
On September 11, 2001, her crew volunteered Harvey to supplement the two active City fireboats when the World Trade Center was attacked. For four days, those three boats (including the 1938 National Historic Landmark Fire-fighter) provided the only water available for firefighting at the World Trade Center site.
The Fireboat John J. Harvey should return from drydock very soon and float into her normal spot at Pier 66 – North River located at 26th Street (Along the Hudson River) in Manhattan.
August 7, 2014
The New York Landmarks Conservancy was pleased to offer its members a special tour of the New York Harbor on the (retired) fireboat John J. Harvey. On the National Register, it was built in 1931 and named for the FDNY pilot who was killed aboard fireboat Thomas Willett while fighting a fire aboard the North German Lloyd Line’s SS Muenchen.
Many thanks to the John J. Harvey crew for a wonderful tour.