In 1892, the Brooklyn Fire Department opened its headquarters at 365-67 Jay Street, located between Myrtle Avenue and Willoughby Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. The building was designed by renowned Richardsonian Romanesque Style (and later, Neoclassical) architect Frank Freeman, also known for such brilliant works as the Herman Behr Mansion in Brooklyn Heights, and the Eagle Warehouse in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Six years after it’s opening, the Brooklyn Fire Department would be no more due to the consolidation of all five boroughs into the City of Greater New York on January 1, 1898. No longer being an independent city requiring its own fire department headquarters, Brooklyn’s 365-67 Jay Street station was absorbed into the newly incorporated Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY).
At the time the photograph above was taken, the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens had a total of 89 engine companies who employed 2,089 workers, with an average of thirteen fires daily. The Rescue 2 unit of the FDNY occupied the building on Jay Street in 1929 where they remained until 1946. The building continued to function as a working firehouse until the 1970s, when it was leased out to Brooklyn Polytechnic University for classroom space amidst severe state budgetary cuts in education at the time.
365-67 Jay Street was designated for landmark status in 1966 by the recently formed Landmark Preservation Commission of NYC and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. In 1987, the firehouse was converted into affordable housing apartments for local residents who were being displaced by construction for the newly-developed MetroTech Center, a sixteen-acre academic and industrial research park.
This image comes from the Edward B. Watson photographs and prints collection (ARC.213). For more information please see our finding aid here and for more photographs from this collection, please visit our image gallery here.
Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections; visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. [email protected].