by Kevin Walsh

Taaffe Place runs for a few blocks in Clinton Hill between Flushing and DeKalb Avenues, wedged between Classon and Kent. It’s pronounced “taf” as far as I know, and is actually an Irish surname, an Irish transliteration of the Welsh equivalent of David (Dafydd), the patron saint of Wales.

#159 is an odd bird just north of Myrtle; it appears to be a former stables, with the faded sign “American Refractories” above the doorway.


By definition, refractory materials retain strength at high temperatures. Therefore, refractory materials are used in the production of kilns, incinerators or reactors. Common materials used to make them are oxides of aluminum, silicon, zirconium and magnesium; commonly they have to withstand temperatures of 1000 degrees C or better. The compound tantalum hafnium carbide has a melting point of  4215 degrees C.

So, some time ago, there was a hot time in the old town at this place.

Photos: Gary Fonville




Al Trojanowicz November 15, 2015 - 6:32 am

Not only the refractories – but this building always had a hot time!

The building at 159 Taaffe Pl dates from c1869, and was the former firehouse of volunteer Phoenix Engine 12, later to Brooklyn and New York Fire Departments known as Engine 9, Engine 109, Engine 209.

Engine Co. 209 was there until 1966 when they moved to 850 Bedford Avenue with Ladder Co. 102. The company was disbanded in 2003.

The E. Robinson Atlas of 1890 shows this street by its former name, Graham Street.

Gary Fonville November 16, 2015 - 11:45 am

I’ve always said that there are astute FNY fans who know stuff. Thanks Mr.

Robert Conner November 20, 2015 - 9:48 pm

There is a beautiful picture of Eng. 209’s vintage American LaFrance with the men aboard on a site called ‘THE UNOFFICIAL HOMEPAGE OF THE FDNY’. It is parked in front of the quarters on Taaffe Place. Go to the site. Click on ‘Brooklyn’ at the top of the page. Then, on next page, click on Engine 209 at the left side. It brings up the picture. The Hose Wagon is partially seen parked behind it. Note the old 8 inch high profile ‘Eagle Helmets’.


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