Chief John T. Brennan Fire Museum

On November 15th, 1870, the new chartered City Council introduced an ordinance to establish, regulate, and control a Fire Department. “Bayonne Hook and Ladder Co. #1″ received their charter on November 22nd, 1870. They held their first meeting in their new firehouse on June 10th, 1875, at 10 West 47th Street (then Northview Ave).

This was accomplished much to the efforts of Councilman James Rollston. In August of 1884, the second floor was built to accommodate larger, much needed quarters, as the hand drawn (pulled) truck Company had become horse drawn. In September of 1906, the volunteers were disbanded and replaced by a paid department, due to the tremendous growth of the city. The paid fire department used this building until 1928, when two new firehouses were built, one at 4th Street and the other at 57th Street.

The 47th Street Firehouse was turned over to the Association of Exempt Firemen. In September of 1974, Mrs. Kenneth Brown (sister of deceased Fire Captain Edward Kaminski) approached Fire Chief John T. Brennan to list the firehouse on the National Register of Historic Building. In early 1976, this was accomplished with the help of then Mayor Dennis P. Collins and the Director of Community Development, Mr. Joseph Pulaski. On October 15, 1979, the now-restored Fire Museum was dedicated as the Bayonne Firefighter’s Museum. “Fireman Pete” Gwiazdowski was the museum’s first curator. The museum logo was created and drawn by a Bayonne Firefighter, Al Furman. A 4 foot by 4 foot wooden logo was donated by a Conrail firefighter and hung outside the museum until May 19, 1988 when the museum was rededicated by the City of Bayonne as the Chief John T. Brennan Fire Museum. This was to honor the Chief for his professionalism, dedication, and humanity. He was appointed in 1943, rose to be Chief in 1960, and retired in March of 1988 as New Jersey’s longest tenured Fire Chief.

City Historian, Dr. Walter Robinson, who passed away in June of 1980, was responsible for much of this information, along with a book entitled The Bayonne Fire Department’s 75th Anniversary. The Fire Museum contains firefighting memorabilia, including the state’s oldest hand drawn hose carriage.