Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments
Chapter 45, Part III
By Holice and Debbie
Note.--Secretaries Gray and Philips were acting Treasurers until Mr. Price was elected.
NEW BANNER, VOLUNTEER FIREMEN'S ASSOCIATION
During the past year the volunteer firemen's association felt that as they were the representatives of the volunteer Firemen it was meet that they should have a fitting emblem to display to the public on occasions of parade, etc. Early in October, 1886, a committee of the association intrusted to Joseph H. Johnson, the artist, the order to prepare a banner to be worthy of the city, the Old Department, and the Association. Mr. Johnson, as an old fireman, took especial pride in his labor. Very son after the work had been commenced, the volunteers decided to take part in the Bartholdi parade, October 28, 1886. There was but little prospect that their banner could be finished in time. The artist, whose heart was in his work, labored assiduously. The result was that the Association marched with their banner in an incomplete state, but sufficiently finished to show its beauties. The banner is now finished. It is 5 by 7 ft., made of heavy double blue and scarlet silk. On the front is depicted a classic figure of Protection standing upon a pedestal, her right hand grasping a spear, her left hand resting upon a shield emblazoned with a phoenix; below, on the left, is a widow, arrayed in her emblems of mourning, with her little daughter, bathed in tears, resting upon her knee; on the ground, near the widow's feet, are the sad mementos of her lot fireman husband; a fire-cap, trumpet, and coat; immediately in front of the mourning pair stand Benevolence, proffering aid and assistance; on the right is the figure of a stalwart fireman, in full fire costume, holding two orphans boys by the hand; in the rear of this scene is the view of a placid river, in the distance a glimpse of the city, and a perfect representation of the Firemen's Monument at Greenwood Cemetery; at the bottom, a picture to make an old fireman's heart beat faster--a night race between an old-time gooseneck engine and a hose carriage. The only drawback is that you are unable to "lay in'' on either of the ropes. Across the top is inscribed: "Volunteer Firemen's Association;" at the bottom, "City of New York."
On the reverse is a large circular painting of the city coat-of-arms; below this, two exquisite gems of art, representing the initiation and discharge certificates of the Old Department; as a base, the old paraphernalia, hydrants, hose, ladders, hooks, etc., artistically arranged; across the top, the familiar legend, "Volunteer Firemen's Association," and below, the date of the organization, and charter. The banner is trimmed with heavy gold lace, bullion fringe, and elegant gold tassels. When used for parades it will be mounted upon a frame of polished ash, with scroll iron-work burnished. The whole will be surmounted by a large gold eagle, with silken festoons, and will be borne by six men. Altogether it is an admirable work, a "think of beauty," and will be "a joy forever" to those who remain to cherish the pleasures and sorrows of their idol--the old New York Fire Department.
Transcribed by Holice B. Young
HTML by Debbie
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