FIREBOAT STATION, DUMBO

by Kevin Walsh

Now home to an ice cream franchise, this building, opened in 1926,  was formerly used to berth fireboats and dry firehoses, hence the tower. On this spot, at the north end of Old Fulton Street where Brooklyn Heights meets DUMO in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, had been the elaborate Victorian Fulton Ferry Terminal; the ferry, connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Fulton streets, began operating in 1814 by Robert Fulton’s ferry company and was discontinued in 1924.  The building contained the offices for the harbor firefighting patrol until the late 1970s. (Contrary to popular belief, Fulton didn’t invent the steamboat, but his ship the Clermont established that it could be commercially viable.)

The opening of the New York and Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 assured the decline of this and other ferries on the East River. Fulton Ferry service ended in 1924.

In addition, the Kings County Elevated Railway opened the line, from dual western terminals at Fulton Ferry and Brooklyn Bridge (Sands Street) east to Nostrand Avenue, on April 24, 1888. It was extended east to Albany Avenue on May 30, 1888. The line was further extended to Ralph Avenue on September 20, 1888 and completed to BMT Fulton Street Line at the west end of East New York in early November.

Service from Fulton Ferry ended May 31, 1940, and the Fulton Street el was gradually cut back until all of it was eliminated. Today’s A and C trains duplicate its route.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

10/20/20

7 comments

Ed Findlay October 22, 2020 - 12:04 am

why the repost? you posted this in March of 2014…

Reply
Kevin Walsh October 22, 2020 - 4:06 pm

Glad to know people have comprehensive records

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Ed Findlay October 23, 2020 - 12:25 am

I didn’t keep tabs, it actually turned up on Google as I was seeking information about the station’s history since there appears to be a five year gap in dates regarding occupancy…Engine 77 confirmed to be there only after 1931 but the station was built in 1926 on the property of the former ferry terminal(lost due to a fire, ironically).

I hope you got the small building nearby that’s just as important to the history: the storage building for those same hoses that were being dried.

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Michael Keit October 22, 2020 - 9:51 pm

The Ice Cream is gone-it moved to Old Fulton St.

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Kevin Walsh October 23, 2020 - 8:40 am

There was an ice cream place in there when I visited in early September.

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Ed Findlay October 23, 2020 - 3:15 pm

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory was forced out in December 2018 and has operated a small location nearby but not at the station itself. It’s true that there’s an ice cream stand operating, but not the same one as has operated in the past: https://www.amplehills.com/location/fireboat-house

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Robert Conner November 17, 2020 - 11:44 pm

In the late 1950;s the Fire Boat Abram S. Hewitt was stationed there. It was the last of the coal burning fire boats. It now lies rotting in the old boat yard on Staten Island.

Reply

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