Friday, May 1, 2009
☞ REMEMBER: The East Harlem Firehouse
The 1937 Berenice Abbott photo of the 19th century firehouse in East Harlem is a fake. That is, the wood firehouse on Park Avenue and 135th Street was actually built in 1908 as a Victorian revival building and did not date back to the mid 1800's, which the style of wood construction may have intimated. By the 20th century, most firehouses were constructed out of limestone, red brick and cast iron -- because, of course, a wood firehouse is highly flammable. Another interesting feature to note in the top photo is that horse-drawn carriages were still in use by many businesses well into the 1930's. The lower photo shows the detail of the shingle wood siding on the building (click on photo to enlarge). By the 1950's, the FDR Drive and the age of the automobile arrived, wiping out this historical building that provided a port for the fireships on the Harlem River.