Georgetown in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Volunteerism and Valor
Before there was a DC Fire Department, companies from two then-separate towns — Georgetown and Washington — provided local fire protection. In 1789, Georgetown citizens purchased a hand-pumped engine and fire buckets with funds raised during a lively mass meeting. The Georgetown volunteers comprised every male inhabitant old enough to vote. The Washington volunteers began operations in 1804 in a frame shed with an old hand engine. The two groups, valiant volunteers for most of their history, merged into the District of Columbia Fire Department Engine Company 5 in 1871. This company is now housed on Dent Place in Georgetown.
This fire department call box (read more history on the opposite side) is a reminder of past tragedies and triumphs. An 1899 newspaper reported that Policeman Charles Henry Steinbraker, a Georgetown resident, was walking along 31st Street when he saw smoke coming from the Gay Street Baptist Church at 31st and N. He ran to this call box and pulled down a lever to send an alarm. Although the response was speedy, high winds fanned the flames too rapidly to save the church, but firemen were able to
Five blocks southwest of here at 1066 Wisconsin Avenue is the Vigilant Firehouse, the oldest remaining firehouse structure in the city. A plaque near the entry memorializes Bush, the Old Fire Dog, who died in 1869. Above the inscription on the gable is a "V" for Vigilant, which history has proven can equally stand for volunteerism and valor.
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Animals • Charity & Public Work • Churches & Religion • Disasters. In addition, it is included in the DC, Art on Call series list.
Location. 38° 54.513′ N, 77° 3.683′ W. Marker is in Georgetown in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of O Street Northwest and 31st Street Northwest, on the right when traveling west on O Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1402 31st Street Northwest, Washington DC 20007, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Georgetown "Cathedral" (a few steps from this marker); The Cornerstone of the Original Christ Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Emma V. Brown Residence (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Presbyterian Congregation in George Town Dumbarton United Methodist Church (about 500 feet away); Tayloe / Snyder House (about 600 feet away); Historic Preservation in Georgetown (about 700 feet away); A Drugstore Like No Other (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Georgetown.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 27, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 99 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 27, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.