Housewatch Journals

dave

New member
Joined
May 22, 2021
Messages
18
What happens to old FDNY housewatch journals? Are they archived somewhere? If so, where?
 

EdMc

Active member
Joined
Feb 22, 2017
Messages
288
In older houses go check out the top of the hose towers
 

Lebby

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
803
Unfortunately, a good number seen to end up on eBay. But, I suppose that's better than the dump.
 

dave

New member
Joined
May 22, 2021
Messages
18
Thanks. I knew FDNY requests companies keep their company journals for 20 years. But I was more interested in the journals from 20-25 years back (pre-9/11), rather than ones from 50-100 years ago. Would it be up to individual companies to decide what to do with them once they are no longer required to be held? Are they tossed or maybe deposited at Fort Totten for long-term storage? Anyone know for sure?
 
Last edited:

Lebby

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
803
My understanding is that most companies keep them stored in the firehouse. Perhaps another member with more experience on the subject, can jump in.
 

mack

Administrator
Joined
Aug 8, 2009
Messages
11,778
I visited E 164/L 84 a few years back with some friends. I had mentioned that my father had ended his career in the 23 Battalion in the 1980s. One of the members disappeared and came back with some company journals. He showed me entries my father had personally made as well as other fires and incidents of the day. It was very meaningful.

The journals are the histories of the firefighters who worked and lived in that firehouse written with their own hands. Most of the entries are routine, but they do provide interesting information as well as a picture of who/what/when/where life.

It is too bad that there is not a department system or policy for indefinite storage and access to journals. Companies have enough to do and should not become libraries or public repositories, but there should be a way to maintain these pieces of history for the benefit of future company members, so they don't get stolen, lost, destroyed or sold on eBay.
 

AuxWarYearsCapt

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2009
Messages
2,125
I visited E 164/L 84 a few years back with some friends. I had mentioned that my father had ended his career in the 23 Battalion in the 1980s. One of the members disappeared and came back with some company journals. He showed me entries my father had personally made as well as other fires and incidents of the day. It was very meaningful.

The journals are the histories of the firefighters who worked and lived in that firehouse written with their own hands. Most of the entries are routine, but they do provide interesting information as well as a picture of who/what/when/where life.

It is too bad that there is not a department system or policy for indefinite storage and access to journals. Companies have enough to do and should not become libraries or public repositories, but there should be a way to maintain these pieces of history for the benefit of future company members, so they don't get stolen, lost, destroyed or sold on eBay.
One night l pulled up to the firehouse where l had buffed and there had to be atleast 20 to 30 journals lying on the ground. I grabbed allot of the old ones, a few housewatch journals but mostly fire record from 1930 into the 1980s. I sold a few but still have approx 8 still here.
 

FormerCpt

New member
Joined
Apr 18, 2018
Messages
1
Around 1999/2000 the job was going around collecting all the old journals from each firehouse. Most firehouses gave them some but not all, I know for a fact that their is a building, not at the rock but another location where most of the old journals are stored and they are in company order! I actually found one for my neighbor, her Dad was on the job, since deceased, I was able to locate the journal from his old company on the day that she was born, where their was an entry for her Dad taking emergency leave due to her birth, she was blown away and cherishes it to this day !
 

68jk09

Well-known member
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
14,670
One year way back (don't remember what year) we were told to separate all stored Company Journals & keep those 20 yrs or less .....a cutdown NYC Sanitation truck was sent & pulled up on the apron & the older than 20 yr Journals were tossed out the 2nd fl office window into the truck....we kept a few of the older ones....for years I had a few old ones that I carried around from place to place....after awhile I had offered them to Jack Lerch RIP at the Mand Library & he wanted no part of them....he said they had plenty....I brought the 5 or 6 that I had into my then FH & left them there....I did keep one that was from 108 on Siegel St & when I looked into it again I saw that the first entry on the first page was from a FF in 108 who at the time of the entry was a Senior FF & had been a Friend & Mentor to me ....it read 1800 hrs "Fireman Bonadio LAD*108 assumes HW Dept PAQ examined & in good order" ( the standard entry w/ "PAQ" meaning "Property & Quarters" ) .....the next entry was at 1820 hrs by the Officer of 119 (pre TL) which read "LAD*119 enters Qtrs relocated to LAD*108 who is operating at the Second Alarm"..... I knew that this particular FF who made the entry & was no longer with us & had a Son John then still OTJ....I gave him the Journal....awhile after he told me that he brought the Journal to a Family Thanksgiving Dinner & they all were amazed to see Dick's entry in his handwriting & that it was just prior to him responding to a Second Alarm ......at least this old Journal did not go to waste.......Dick Bonadio extreme left... 1639282712422.png
 
Last edited:

GeoC

Active member
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
207
When I was in Red Hook (L 131) we took most of them to the Sanitation Pier on Hamilton Ave and dumped them.
At the Highway House, Bill Murphy (present Captain of Rescue 3) located the 1st Company HW book up in the attic over the lockers. . If you want some interesting reading it’s on display on the Apparatus floor in a case. Holds the names of firefighters assigned, horses names and where they came from. All written in beautiful script. Military history of members etc great reading if you want a taste of life back in the day. One entry requested that the company be assigned a smaller pumper since the streets were too rutted for the horses to pull the assigned unit. Lol
 

lucky

Active member
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
411
One of the old journals from Engine 277 has an entry by an officer who was hooking up one of the firemen who said the word "DAMN".
An entry by the same officer later in the day noted that he was dropping the charges because the firemen said he was sorry. A lot of the entries were for chauffeurs and officers coming and going for meal hour with other men relieving them for the hour. Not much changed through the sixties from the teens and twenties except for the use of abbreviations. We went through a lot more books in the war years.
 

mack

Administrator
Joined
Aug 8, 2009
Messages
11,778
For $1000, you can own "1919 FDNY Station Log Journal Brooklyn NY Fire Department Engine Company 276"

Currently selling on eBay.

a.jpg

b.jpg

c.jpg

 

mack

Administrator
Joined
Aug 8, 2009
Messages
11,778
A journal memory as a kid - The engine was operating at a multiple. Shift change and the on-coming tour engine members were going to relieve the day tour members. The captain had just made a journal entry and had called the dispatcher to let them know they were leaving for the fire to relieve the day tour members. The guys were getting into two cars when one member jumped out to get another pair of gloves in his locker. The dispatcher meanwhile called quarters and told the truck officer that the engine was going to be released and there was no longer any need to relieve them. The truck lieutenant ran out to the captain and told him the new status. The captain thought for a moment and then announced that they were going to drive to the fire regardless - because it was already in the journal that they had departed 5 or 10 minutes earlier.
 

mack

Administrator
Joined
Aug 8, 2009
Messages
11,778
5 more FDNY journals currently on eBay. For about $4000, you can own all 10.
 
Top