Badge of History

Rockaway Ol`times

The last conversation I had with my father is the subject of this week’s column.

I received a “History-Mystery” inquiry from a gentleman named James P. O’Connor, who resides in North Carolina. His family resided in New York City and Rockaway Beach dating back to the mid 1860s.  His inquiry was about an old Fireman’s Badge, made of gold, from RBNY.

My father, who had a brain “sharper than a papercut,” without hesitance, told me this… 

R.B.H.R. stands for Rockaway Beach Hose & Reel, Co. This was mostly a Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company. 296 is the Hose/Reel Co. number.

In 1892 they lost all of their firefighting equipment in the Great Seaside Inferno. The fire devastated the area from the bay to the ocean.

The burn marks on the top right side of the badge, indicates the badge was probably caught in the fire, but survived.

The trademark on the left side, under the #2, is not clear on the badge. It’s possible this mark is an ID number for the firefighter.

Katie Lucev is the daughter of the late Rockaway Beach Historian, Emil R. Lucev, Sr. (1933-2018).


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