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Interpreting the Evidence

Forest Fire Prevention Poster, c. 1900

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    North Country
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Forest Fire Prevention Poster, c. 1900 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
A Finch, Pruyn and Company, Inc. poster instructing workers not to smoke in the forest, circa 1900.
Historical Context
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a multitude of large, dangerous, and expensive forest fires caused New York State to dedicate new manpower and develop new technologies for reporting forest fires throughout the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The "great fires" of 1903 and 1908, which consumed nearly one million acres of forest, led to the creation of fire districts with fire superintendents, fire patrolmen, and a systematic approach to address citizens' concerns about forest fire management in the Adirondacks. In 1909, the first Adirondack fire tower was built.
Essential Question
How do human settlement patterns impact the environment?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the overall message of this poster and explain why this poster was necessary for public safety.
Historical Challenges
Research the history of Finch, Pruyn and Company, Inc. When and where was the business founded? What did the company make? Does the company exist today? If so, what does actions does the company take to protect the environment? What other types of companies should work to protect the environment? Do they?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a newspaper article as if it were the year 1900 that describes safety precautions one must take to prevent forest fires.
Art: Create your own forest fire prevention poster.