The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Hook and Ladder 66, updated

with 5 comments

I posted about the Hook and Ladder 66 firehouse on Northern Blvd. a few weeks ago. In that post, I commented on how the history of the FDNY is a historical subject so vast that it is best left to the experts. Luckily, for me- and for you- one of those experts contacted the Newtown Pentacle with a wealth of information about the firehouse and the men who worked there. 

text and photos from James Rooney, used with permission. Link insertions are from the Newtown Pentacle for referential purposes:


“Here is the photo that I found on the internet. It was posted by the Captain Thomas F. McKeon’s grandson. He was a Captain in Long Island City/Astoria area for almost 30 Years. From November of 1897 till around 1925. That house was opened in August of 1905 I think, and Captain McKeon was Captian of Ladder 67 in Astoria from 1897 till around 1906.”

” The original Captain of Ladder 66 was John J. Slattery and the firehouse was located at 443 Buckley street which was 36th street and extended through the Sunnyside Rail yards. All those houses were torn down in around 1906 when they built the Sunnyside yards. 443 was located a little south of Jackson Ave which is now Northern Blvd.. 
There were horses driving the fire truck till about 1922 I think. The original fire trucks were Gleason & Bailey 50 foot Combination Chemical aerial Ladders. The first was an 1895 model and later they recieved a 1905 model. I’ve been trying to locate more information on the Fire Company there. I’ve been a firefighter in Ladder 116 since 1990, and our current firehouse has record books from the company going back to the Early 1900’s showing the early Fire Records from the area from around 1903 till 1916.”   

James Rooney    Ladder 116

and he also sent these:

“I was searching about on the internet and found this photo of an 1898 Gleason & Bailey Manufacturing Company 55′ Combination Chemical engine that Ladder 66 had in 1904. That firehouse on Northern Blvd was completed on October 11, 1904 and the address then was 701 Jackson Ave East of Kouwenhoven Street, which is now Northern Blvd east of 38th street.
When Hook & Ladder 66 settled in at the new firehouse the FDNY bought them a brand new 1905 American La France Engine Company 50′ Combination Chemical Engine Registration # 27B pulled by two Horses.”


“We have records from the company going back to almost 1900. That firehouse on Northern was built and opened in 1904. The original Company was Ladder 2 of the Long Island City FD. When it was incorporated into the New York City Metropolitan area in January of 1898 it became Ladder 16 or Truck 16. There is a great article you can access online in the Brooklyn Eagle from May of 1899 listing the firehouses of Long Island City and it labels Truck 16 as the worst firehouse in the City. That prompted the move to have a new firehouse built.
Later before the company moved into that Northern Blvd firehouse they became Hook & Ladder 66. The company later became Hook & Ladder 116 in around 1913. The horses were replaced in I think September of 1922, and I have records of the horses and rigs up untill that time. The photo I sent you is of the Firefighters with Captain McKeon circa 1920 I found it online posted by the Captain Thomas F.McKeon’s grandson. He had it mistakenly labelled as the Maspeth FD. 
Captain McKeon was Captain from around 1905 till around 1925, he was the original Captain of Ladder 117 from 1898 till 1906. Ladder 116’s original Captain was John J. Slattery from 1898 till 1906. After Captain Thomas F. McKeon we had Captain James J. Murphy #2 who became a firefighter in 1906 and was born in 1885. He served as Captain of Ladder
116 from 1926 till January 1, 1955…”

“That firehouse on Northern had Hook & Ladder 116 moved out of it in the Fall of 1947, maybe because Northern Blvd was just too busy to have the company travel in and out with all of the traffic there. They were moved into the 29th street firehouse along with Engine 261. Engine 261 was closed by the city in May of 2003. 

 A few of the other original buildings still left are Engine 260’s quarters on Vernon Blvd, Engine 258‘s quarters on Northern Blvd, and Ladder 115‘s quarters on 47th Rd, as well as Engine 262‘s quarters on Main st. in Astoria.

Here’s a shot of the original Engine 260 on Vernon Ave.”


Thank you James Rooney!

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 31, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Posted in newtown creek

5 Responses

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  1. Absolutely brilliant! The images and history of the original FDNY houses and crew are fascinating. It just goes to show how rich the area is with stories. Thanks to the Newtown Pentacle and to James Rooney Ladder 116 for archiving and sharing with us.


    August 1, 2009 at 7:38 am

    • My great great grandfather was a Thomas F McKeon …he came over from Ireland in 1893 at the age of twenty…I dont imagine he could have been a captain at hat young of an age

      Francis X. McKeone

      November 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      • never mind…I see that he died during a fire

        Francis X. McKeone

        November 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm

  2. i grew up in sunnyside and driving by the hook and ladder one day, i realized it was closed. can anyone tell me if i can purchase the fire house and use it as a residence? where would i start my journey to see if this is do-able?


    November 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm

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