Statement of Significance (as of designation - June 28, 1996):
The fireboat/icebreaker EDWARD M. COTTER, built in 1900 as W.S. GRATTAN, later renamed FIREFIGHTER, and known by her present name since 1954, is the oldest fireboat operating on the Great Lakes. While conforming to the national fireboat type, COTTER exemplifies features specific to her Lakes use on frequently frozen waterways. She also is the oldest fireboat left in service in the United States.