Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Calumet Village holds Italian Hall Tragedy Centennial Ceremony on Christmas Eve, 2013

By Michele Bourdieu

During the Italian Hall Tragedy Centennial Ceremony on Christmas Eve, 2013, Calumet Village President Dave Geisler, right, reads the names and ages of the 73 victims, mostly children, who were crushed to death on Dec. 24, 1913, in Calumet's Italian Hall when a false alarm of "Fire!" caused a panic. A descendant of one of the victims comes forward to take a rose from the commemorative wreath honoring the victims. At left is Sue Dana, Calumet Village comptroller, who assists with the wreath. The ceremony was held at the Italian Hall historic site -- a park including the arch that remains from the building, demolished in 1984. (Photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now unless otherwise indicated.)

CALUMET -- While hardly warming the Christmas Eve, 2013, cold temperatures, a bit of sunshine helped brighten the scene at the Italian Hall historic arch as Calumet Village officials, church leaders, singers, and a large crowd of residents and visitors solemnly commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Italian Hall tragedy.

Here are some video highlights of the event:

As the Centennial Ceremony begins, Dave Geisler, Calumet Village president, welcomes residents and visitors to the commemoration and introduces the other speakers, including the Rev. Laura Eaton of Christ Episcopal Church and her son, the Rev. Jess Peterlin. At the Italian Hall historic site, 73 luminaries and a wreath with 73 white tea roses honor the victims. (Videos by Allan Baker for Keweeenaw Now)

During the Italian Hall Tragedy Centennial ceremony in Calumet, Mich., on Dec. 24, 2013, members of the Noteworthy chorus sing "Amazing Grace," a hymn to honor the victims.

As Calumet Village President Dave Geisler reads the last of the 73 names of the Italian Hall disaster victims, relatives come forward to take a rose from the commemorative wreath. Sue Dana, Calumet Village comptroller, reads Psalm 23. Following his closing comments, Geisler offers residents and visitors Christmas wishes in several of the languages spoken in Calumet 100 years ago.

Following the ceremony, visitors were invited to view the display of historic photographs in the Calumet Village Hall and the traveling exhibit from the Michigan Tech Archives, "Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan's 1913-1914 Copper Strike," in the Calumet Theatre.

More photos of this Italian Hall Centennial event:

This sign marks the arch from Italian Hall as a historic site commemorating the victims of the 1913 tragedy. (Photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Luminaries at the historic arch honor the victims on Christmas Eve 2013, marking the centennial of the Italian Hall tragedy.

A close-up of the luminaries -- one for each of the 73 victims.

Following the Italian Hall Tragedy Centennial Ceremony on Dec. 24, 2013, visitors view historic photos on display in the Calumet Village Hall. This is a photo of the deadly stairwell and the doors at the entrance.

This historic photo of Italian Hall is part of the exhibit in the Calumet Village Hall.

A historic photo of the funeral for the victims that was held on Dec. 28, 1913.

Late into the evening of Christmas Eve, 2013, the luminaries near the Italian Hall historic arch continue to burn in honor of the Italian Hall victims. (Photo © Eric Munch, 2013. Reprinted with permission.)

During the afternoon and evening of Christmas Eve, 2013, Calumet church bells tolled for the victims.

During the evening of Dec. 24, 2013, the bells at St. Paul the Apostle Church ring out in remembrance of the victims of the Italian Hall disaster of Christmas Eve, 1913.

Editor's Notes: See also our Dec. 24, 2013, article, "1913 Massacre filmmakers talk about their documentary on Italian Hall disaster."

Click here to learn about the traveling exhibit, "Tumult and Tragedy," which is available to the public in the Calumet Theatre through Jan. 16, 2014.

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