Illinois (fireboat)

From Citizendium
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is a stub and thus not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
This editable Main Article is under development and subject to a disclaimer.
This article is about Illinois (fireboat). For other uses of the term Illinois, please see Illinois (disambiguation).

`The Illinois was a fireboat operated by the Chicago Fire Department.[1] She was commissioned in 1888, and she was then described as the most powerful fireboat afloat.[2] She was one of the first fireboats to have a steel hull at a time when other fireboats were built of wood.[3]

The Illinois was struck by falling debris while fighting a massive fire in 1908, and sunk in 20 feet of water in the Chicago River.[4] She was however quickly refloated, and put back into service.

118 ft (35.97 m)[2]
12.5 ft (3.81 m)[2]
$100,000 USD[2]
fire-fighting equipment
  • 11 water cannons[2]
  • Steam engines powered dynamos that in turn powered electric motors.[2]


  1. Barrys lose by fire: Chicago Docks and Freight Damaged Sunday, The Milwaukee Journal, 1902-11-24. Retrieved on 2013-12-10.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 A thousand things worth knowing, information that enriches the mind and enlivens the heart: Fire fighting to-day, American Family Educator. Retrieved on 2013-12-10. “The Illinois was built in the year 1888, and is the newest and most modern fire boat that floats. The Illinois is 118 feet in length, twenty-four feet in depth, and has a hold depth of twelve and a half feet. To construct and fit it out cost about $100,000.”
  3. Josiah Seymour Currey. Chicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.2), Clarke publishing Company, p. 39. Retrieved on 2012-12-13. “All these so-called fireboats, however, were makeshifts. The Geyser was specially constructed as a river fireboat in 1886, chiefly through the earnest efforts of Fire Marshal Swenie. Swenie had been ordered to visit New York and other eastern cities to examine the fireboat service there. On his return the Geyser was built at an expense of $39,000. The Geyser was also used to open up the river in winter, and in 1887, she rendered splendid service in this way when the river was gorged with ice during the winter, and the flood of 1849 was likely to have been repeated.”
  4. Bill Cosgrove. Chicago's Forgotten Tragedy, Author House, p. 118. Retrieved on 2013-12-10.