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David Lewis
Re: Historical Fire Tower
Thu Aug 28, 2014 02:48

Hi Susan,

Tell me more about what you are looking for - and what you want to use this image(s) for.

When you say "historical fire tower" -- I presume you mean a look-out or fire watch tower? Are you looking for an image of a forest (wildland) lookout tower, or one from a city/urban area? In New York City there is the Mt. Morris Fire Watch Tower that still exists (see: There are also a couple of excellent surviving examples in Charleston South Carolina (see:

Are you looking for a contemporary photograph, a historic photograph, or a graphic/illustration (like from a Harper's or Leslie's Illustrated).

You said you need a high-res file. What size/resolution? What is the end use - a school project? illustrating a book or magazine article? an exhibit? Is this for personal use? commercial use? Are you a museum/non-profit?

In the collection of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum (Aurora, IL), we have some historic images of watch towers that we are willing and able to make avaliable to you for a fee, if that's of interest. You can see these images (two or three of them) in the first few seconds of this short video:

Send me a private email with more about your project and I can send you more details.

- David
David Lewis, Curator
Aurora Regional Fire Museum

  • Historical Fire TowerSusan Clippinger, Wed Aug 27 17:33
    Hi, I am looking for a historical image of a fire tower from the 1800's. It needs to be wooden as I understand that is what they used during that time period. I have found some on Google, but I need... more
    • Re: Historical Fire Tower — David Lewis, Thu Aug 28 02:48
      • Fire Tower imageSusan C, Fri Sep 5 10:28
        Hi, thank you for your response and your email. there isn't much room on this message board for details, so I will send you a separate email with all the information I am looking for to see if you... more
      • NYS Fire TowersFDNYhistory, Thu Aug 28 07:45
        I have the same questions as David, Susan. Many fire towers still exist, even though dormant, in New York State which you could get original photos of as you need. Simply Google "New York State Fire... more
        • NYC fire towersJosiah Wagener , Fri Aug 29 10:19
          It is my understanding that New York City had some fire watch towers in the late 18th to mid 19th centuries where a watchman would look for signs of a fire breaking out in the city and ring a bell to ... more
          • NYC Watch TowersFDNYhistory, Fri Aug 29 10:51
            I actually have images of several of them in my upcoming book, "New York City Fires and Firefighters: Illustrations from 19th Century Newspapers"
            • Fire Tower ImageSusan C, Fri Sep 5 10:33
              Hi, I am specifically looking for a wooden type tower that might have been around in the 1800's. some of the early 1900's towers might have been wooden and might work, it just depends. The size of... more
              • Re: Fire Tower ImageFDNYhistory, Fri Sep 5 11:57
                Please send email to so I have your return address to send anything I can to you.
                • Fire Watch TowerSusan C, Fri Sep 5 12:37
                  Hi, thank you for the help. I will send you my email address.
              • Re: Fire Tower ImageFDNYhistory, Fri Sep 5 10:48
                Again, as asked by others; what "tower" are you looking for? Hose Tower, Watch Tower? You have yet to say.
                • Fire Watch towerSusan C, Fri Sep 5 11:48
                  Hi, sorry, I am looking for a Fire Watch tower or Lookout tower. Not a specific tower so much as one that is from the time period of the late 1800's or early 1900's. it needs to be wooden and not... more
                  • Re: Fire Watch towerFDNYhistory, Fri Sep 5 11:53
                    OK great, I'll check my files. I believe I have some that I can send to you.
        • Fire towerBill Hall, Thu Aug 28 13:15
          My first impression of the question was a fire tower, meaning fire apparatus. A fire tower could also be an elevating tower with a fire nozzle on the end to reach high areas and roofs. Most were... more
          • Re: Fire towerJReese, Fri Aug 29 00:36
            My first thought went toward the hose tower.
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