near Milwaukee, 1923
At a time in history when the Milwaukee River was a commercial corridor, fireboats were an important part of fighting urban fires. Originally named the August F. Janssen, #23 was built in Sturgeon Bay in 1896 and entered service with the Milwaukee Fire Department in 1897. Named for MFD’s Engine Company 23, which operated the vessel, the 1,000-foot-long boat served Milwaukee well, using her 4,500-gallon-per-minute water pump to extinguish fires at buildings, grain elevators, and commercial vessels along the waterfront. Historical records show that #23’s machinery and pumps were sold for junk in 1922. On July 27, 1923, she was scuttled—deliberately sunk—in Lake Michigan, a few miles from Milwaukee.