Gotham history …
On a quiet walk down Washington Place just east of Sheridan Square, some unusual symbols came into view.
Three of the lovely Federal-style 1830s townhouses on the south side of the street had small plaques on their facades, each with a different image and letters.
What was all this fire imagery about? These Fire marks, as they’re officially called, were produced by fire insurance companies in the 19th century.
“Possibly the latter day reader never heard of a fire mark, but they could be found on the front of many buildings in the city before 1870,” explains a 1928 New York Times article.
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