Fire Insurance Patrol of the City of Philadelphia records
Held at: Fireman's Hall Museum [Contact Us]147 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA , 19106
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Fireman's Hall Museum. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Fire Insurance Patrol of the City of Philadelphia was organized in 1869, with its stated object, "'to protect and save property in or contiguous to burning buildings, and to remove and take charge of such property or any part thereof when necessary,' supported by voluntary contributions from various fire insurance companies, and not possessing the means of making profits or declaring dividends, but exercising its functions equally in property whether insured or uninsured." Fire fighters employed by the Fire Patrol attended the same fires visited by the Philadelphia Fire Department, but with more of a focus on salvaging property and protecting nearby buildings. The Fire Patrol was dissolved in 1962.
Quoted text from: "The Fire Insurance Patrol of the City of Philadelphia v. Boyd." Weekly Notes of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the County Courts of Philadelphia, and the United States District and Circuit Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, July to December, 1888. Philadelphia: Kay & Brother, 1889. Pages 248-249.
This collection consists of fire log books, minute books, printed annual reports, and various financial and administrative records. The largest section of this collection is a set of log books of fires, 1870-1961. Logs record date, location of fire, building function, occupant, losses, and insurance payments. There is one fire record book that is just from Fire Patrol #3, and dates from 1909 to 1916. There is also a volume of Building Occupancies covering Chestnut Street from the corner of Water and Front to 17th Street (100 to 1711 Chestnut), as well as Delaware Ave., Water St., Front St., 2nd to 8th Sts., Arch St. and Market to 12th. These inspections start in January 1878 and appear to have been updated starting December, 1878 to December 1880. The later inspections include many small streets.
Three minute books of the corporation span 1869 to 1895, 1895 to 1911, and 1950 to 1962.
The printed annual reports span the life of the corporation, from 1869-1961. The early reports itemize the year's fires and losses, although later reports only offer summary statistics.
The miscellaneous financial and administrative records in the collection include a small amount of deeds and mortgages (1867-1909), legal records and correspondence, original and copy photographs, insurance policies (1880), and stock reports (1895-1961).
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2011-2012 as part of a pilot project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Fireman's Hall Museum directly for more information.
- Fireman's Hall Museum
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact Fireman's Hall Museum for information about accessing this collection.