Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight Hiram M. Chittenden Patsy Collins Gordon Hirabayashi Home William Boeing
Search Encyclopedia
Advanced Search
Featured Essay
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
7100 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donation system not supported by Safari     Donate Subscribe


Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search


Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Seattle unveils steam-powered fire engine on February 1, 1879.

HistoryLink.org Essay 961 : Printer-Friendly Format

On February 1, 1879, the City of Seattle unveils a new Gould steam fire-engine pump. In a parade through downtown, the Seattle Cornet Band leads a procession of Seattle volunteer firefighters in their red shirts and black pants, followed by the steam-powered fire engine pulled by six horses. Behind the engine are the Mayor, city officers, and City Council. After the parade, the fire engine is pulled to Commercial Street (later renamed 1st Avenue S) and Main Street and its workings and capacities are demonstrated.

The Town Comes Out

On January 24, 1879, the fire engine arrived on the ship Eldorado. It took a week to assemble it. A "grand parade" for the fire engine was scheduled for 3 o'clock February 1, 1879." Before the appointed time for the procession to start both sides of [Columbia Street] were literally crowded with anxious spectators, who were on tiptoe for the performance to commence" (Intelligencer February 8, 1879).

The Seattle Cornet Band led the procession. Marching behind the band were Seattle volunteer firefighters in their red shirts and black pants, and behind them, the steam-powered fire engine pulled by six horses. Then came the mayor, city officers, and members of the city council.

After the parade through town, the fire engine was pulled to Commercial Street (later renamed 1st Avenue S) and Main Street for a demonstration. It took about 10 minutes to fire up the steam pump to 140 pounds pressure. A cistern buried in the intersection (placed there for fire protection) provided the source of water. Using three hoses at once, the pump sent the three streams of water over the United States Hotel (southeast corner of Commercial Street and Main Street) which landed some 135 feet away. Using one hose, the stream was sent 240 feet, almost an entire city block.

A Most Inviting Repast

"In the evening the ladies of Seattle, with their usual thoughtfulness, spread a most inviting repast in the Council chamber which was highly enjoyed by the firemen, city officers, band, and a few guests" (Intelligencer February 8, 1879). This was followed by a dance at Yesler's Hall (southeast corner of Front Street, later renamed 1st Avenue, and Cherry Street) that lasted till midnight.

Weekly Intelligencer, January 25, 1879, p. 3; Ibid. February 8, 1879, p. 3.

Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Technology | Society |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

Seattle's first steam fire engine, 1879
Courtesy J. Willis Sayre, This City of Ours

Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org