Capt. Harvey Von Harten

Sgt Benjamin GrahamCapt. Harvey Von Harten

Lt Harvey von HartenPhoto courtesy of Mrs. Linda Hresko,.. Captain Harvey von Harten's granddaughter

Capt. Harvey Von Harten

14 Jan 1941 -CAPT. HARVEY VON HARTEN, On this day in Baltimore Police History we lost our brother Capt. Harvey Von Harten died of a Heart attack several minutes after ending his shift and in the car on his way home, as his driver pulled up in front of his home, he grabbed his chest and slumped over in his seat. The Driver took him straight to the ER where he died when they failed to revive him. 

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15 Jan 1941

The Sun (1837-1987); pg. 24

Police Captain, Born In Tradition of Sea, Suffers Heart Attack - Oldest Marine Division Member, Began Service in Southern District Capt. Harvey Von Harten chief of the Baltimore harbor police, died of a heart attack yesterday afternoon 14 Jan 1941. At the age of 61, he was the oldest member of the -department's marine division. He was said to be the only man on the force who was raised to the rank of lieutenant from that of patrolman. He received the promotion in February of 1921, two years after he joined the harbor patrol.

Promoted to Captaincy In 1931
He was elevated to the captaincy of the harbor police ten years later, in December of 1931. Captain Von Harten was born and bred in the tradition of seafaring. The son of George Von Harten, proprietor of a seaman's hotel on Pratt Street, near Gay, Von Harten as a youth often listened to sailors from all parts or the world as they spun their tales in the little lobby of the hotel.

Went to Sea as Youth
These stories and a love of the sea he inherited from his family had their effect on him. While still a young man he went to sea, making trips to Europe as an ordinary seaman. When he returned to Baltimore and before he was appointed to the police force, he acted as skipper of the Sunbeam. Ferrying the late Edward P. (Admiral) Duffy, waterfront reporter for The Sun, from boat to boat in the harbor.

Began In Southern District
He was appointed to the force in. June 1911, and was assigned to the Southern District. In March 1919, he was transferred to the police boat. Captain Von Harten saw five police boats come and go and he command three of them. The police boats Marshall Farnan and the Lannan were sold by the department long ago. Within the last year the new Charles D. Gaither was put in commission to take the place of the George G. Henry. The Robert D. Carter still is in service.

Averted Trouble in Strike
One of Captain Von Harten’s favorite stories about policing came out of the Longshoremen’s strike here about six years ago. The strikers formed picket lines with boats along the harbor and it was the job of the water-front police to patrol these lines. One afternoon a group of longshoremen landed on a company dock. This was private property, the act was trespassing and Captain Von Harten knew there was sure to be trouble. He ordered his men to drag out the fire hose. In a few minutes the dock was clear and trouble averted.

Arrests Negro in Robbery
Early in his career, while .he was patrolling a beat in the Southern district, a storekeeper called to Von, Harten as he passed the establishment. He ran inside, the proprietor Screamed he was being robbed, and a large Negro who was standing in front of the counter offered no resistance as he was arrested.

Trouble was Not Long in Coming
However Von Harten took him to a call box, and while they were waiting for a patrol wagon, the Negro whipped a butcher, knife out of his sleeve. In the struggle that followed, the Negro stabbed himself and died. Von Harten was uninjured.

Uses Fireboats as Tugs
There was a big grain elevator fire at Locust Point about twenty years ago. The captain was fond of telling how during the fire the harbor police turned their boats to tugboat duty and pushed barges, loaded with freight cars full of grain, away from the piers to safety. Captain Von Harten was born in Baltimore and attended the public schools and the Polytechnic Institute. His first job was one in a boiler works obtained shortly after he left Poly. For several months he had been under physician's care for a heart ailment. He went on sick leave last November 14, but returned to duty December 9 and had been working regularly since that time.

Stricken in Front of Home
He died at 4.20 P. M., a few minutes after he left the police boat dock at the foot of Willis street. There he had told Lieut. Timothy Welsh, "I never felt better in my Life.” Patrolman Edward J. Travers drove the captain to his home at 3814 Echodale Avenue. Just as the automobile pulled up in front of the house, Captain Von Harten was stricken. Travers drove to the St. Joseph’s Hospital, where efforts to revive his superior for failed.

Received Numerous Awards
Twice during his career as a policeman, Captain Von Harten was commended for highly meritorious service of the department. He received numerous other awards. He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Ida Von Harten, of 1626 St. Paul Street, his wife, Mrs. Lottie Von Harten, one son, Harvey, Jr.

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More Details

End of Watch 14 Jan 1941
City, St. 3814 Echodale Avenue.
Panel Number N/A
Cause of Death Heart Attack
District Worked Marine Unit

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