Following his advocacy and a personal meeting with the Fireboat McKean Preservation Project’s David Rocco, U.S Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer recently announced that the National Park Service (NPS) has approved the nomination of the historic John D. McKean fireboat, a retired New York City Fire Department (FDNY) vessel, to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
The McKean served the FDNY for 58 years, responding to countless emergencies including the 9/11 attacks, the “Miracle on the Hudson” in 2009, and the 1991 Staten Island Ferry Terminal fire.
The historic boat, which now docks in Stony Point, NY, played a role in protecting New York’s waterfront communities. This federal designation will enshrine this vessel as a piece of America’s history and unlock access to federal funding to preserve the fireboat.
In an announcement sent to the press, Schumer explained that the goal of the McKean organization is to reach out to community schools along the Hudson River from NYC up to Albany and engage students about the possibility of a maritime career. The boat was purchased at an FDNY surplus auction in 2016 and will be restored by a group of Hudson Valley-based volunteers for museum and educational purposes.
On December 8, 2022, the McKean was unanimously approved for listing on the State Register of Historic Places (SRHP) by the New York State Review Board as “a significant historic resource under Criterion C in the area of Engineering.” The retired vessel was also signed to the State Register that day.
Since then, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has prepared the McKean‘s nomination for submission to the NPS for listing on the NRHP. However, this process was initially delayed because the homeport location changed to Stony Point in Rockland County subsequent to the SRHP listing approval.
Being added to the National Register of Historic Places provides the retired FDNY boat with access to the historic rehabilitation tax credit and grants through the Historic Preservation Fund which can be used for maintenance and upkeep of the fireboat, which was originally built in 1954.
Photos, from above: Fireboat McKean at the US Airways Flight 1549 “Miracle on the Hudson” crash landing in 2009; and at dock in Hudson River at Stony Point (photo by David Rocco).