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The Italian Hall Disaster, Calumet, Michigan, 1913

La tragédie du « Italian Hall » à Calumet, Michigan, 1913

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  • Hilda Westola (1870 - 1955)
    Moved from Lapinlahti parish to Turtola parish on 3 Oct 1895. Hilda Ollikainen's husband Johan Peter Westola died on 24 December 1913 in the Italian Hall Disaster in Calumet, Michigan.
  • Johan Peter Westola (1865 - 1913)
    Johan Westola, of Finnish descent, was 48 years old in 1913. He attended a Christmas party on 24 December 1913 with two of his sons that was held upstairs at the Italian Hall in Calumet, Michigan. Some...
  • Hilja Wualukka (c.1905 - 1913)
    Hilja Wualukka, of finnish descent, was 8 years old in 1913. She attended a Christmas party on 24 December 1913 that was held upstairs at the Italian Hall in Calumet, Michigan. Someone shouted "Fire" a...
  • Josefina Peteri (b. - c.1906)
    Josefina Peteri's daughter Hilja Wualukka died on 24 December 1913 in the Italian Hall Disaster in Calumet, Michigan.
  • Frank Wualukka (c.1866 - d.)
    Frank Wualukka's daughter Hilja Wualukka died on 24 December 1913 in the Italian Hall Disaster in Calumet, Michigan.

Introduction

The Italian Hall Disaster occured in Calumet, Michigan on Christmas Eve, 1913 during the strikes at the copper mines. During a Christmas party held in the upstairs of the Italian Hall someone falsely shouted fire. The party goers, mostly children, rushed down the stairs in an attempt to get out of the building. The doors at the base of the stairs were closed. In the rush to leave the building, 73 people were crushed and died of suffocation.

The person who yelled "fire" was never identified. The Italian Hall was torn down In 1984. The doorway was left standing with a plaque in remembrance of this tragedy.

Woody Guthrie, an American Folk singer, wrote a song about the Italian Hall Disaster called 1913 Massacre.

The list of people killed in the Italian Hall Disaster was published in the book Tinsel & Tears by Peggy Germain in 1984.

Sources