1913 – Calumet, Michigan – deaths

Update: 12 Oct 2019 — I posted about this 1913 tragedy on a FaceBook group page called “Croatian Heritage and Genealogy” and I got a comment with these new links:

http://www.angelfire.com/mi2/1913/1913T.html  and the follow link which comes from the “A Dick and June Ross Collection File”

http://www.mfhn.com/houghton/rosscoll/ItalianHallpg2.htm


My friend Lance Endrele re-posted an item on FaceBook about a tragedy that occurred in Calumet, Michigan back in Dec of 1913.

“…73 people, mostly striking mine workers and their families, were suffocated or crushed to death in a stampede…”  59 children were among the dead.

I didn’t know anything about this tragedy but thanks to Lance now I do. So sad.


From the original U.P. Michigan post — a small part of a long article —

A post from FaceBook page U.P. Michigan

posted on December 24, 2014 ·

Christmas Eve 1913, the Darkest Day in the U.P. Copper Boom –

The Italian Hall Disaster in Calumet, MI – the sad, real origin of ‘shouting Fire in a crowded theater’ 73 people (including 59 children), mostly striking mine workers and their families, were suffocated or crushed to death in a stampede when someone falsely shouted “fire” at a crowded Christmas party.


Having read the Lance Enderle post I started looking for other items that told the story of that day, here is the list of links I found:

December 24, 1913 : Italian Hall Disaster in Calumet Claims 72 Lives Sunday, December 24, 2017 – 4:36am Jon Harrison https://blogs.lib.msu.edu/red-tape/2017/dec/december-24-1913-italian-hall-disaster-calumet-claims-72-lives/

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A VIRTUAL CEMETERY CREATED BY LYNDON COMSTOCK Italian Hall Victims https://www.findagrave.com/virtual-cemetery/400818?page=1#sr-115513794

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Italian Hall Disaster of 1913 Kbear586 Published on Sep 10, 2011 A brief story surrounding the Italian Hall disaster in Calumet, Michigan, 1913. One of the investigations and stories in the 2nd “Haunted Travels of Michigan” book. Details at website: http://www.hauntedtravelsMI.com https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFnJLpFLxQQ

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Search request on Google for “Calumet fire in 1913https://www.google.com/search?ei=00ckXIDWC4qijwTt0qiQCA&q=Calumet+fire+in+1913+&oq=Calumet+fire+in+1913+&gs_l=psy-ab.3..33i299l2.30970.35771..37895…0.0..0.82.631.9……0….1..gws-wiz…….38j0i22i30j0i7i30j0i30j33i10i299j33i10.RuUyvn31QpE

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Yuletide union busting: Inside the Italian Hall Disaster on Christmas Eve 1913 By STATESIDE STAFF • DEC 13, 2017 http://www.michiganradio.org/post/yuletide-union-busting-inside-italian-hall-disaster-christmas-eve-1913

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Italian Hall disaster From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Hall_disaster

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When 59 children died on Christmas Eve 1913, the world cried with the town of Calumet, Michigan. A little-known piece of history that Woody Guthrie documented in his haunting song, “1913 Massacre.” by Brandon Weber https://www.upworthy.com/when-59-children-died-on-christmas-eve-1913-the-world-cried-with-the-town-of-calumet-michigan

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1913 Italian Hall Disaster was Michigan’s biggest Christmas Eve tragedy Updated Dec 18, 2017; Posted Dec 18, 2017 https://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/12/1913_italian_hall_disaster_was.html

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Photos from the 1913 Italian Hall Disaster Posted December 19, 2017 at 07:30 AM | Updated December 19, 2017 at 08:21 PM Comment By Tanda Gmiter | tgmiter@mlive.com https://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/12/photos_from_michigans_italian.html

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American Heritage Trusted Writing on History, Travel, Food and Culture Since 1949 https://www.americanheritage.com/content/calumet-tragedy

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HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: WHO YELLED “FIRE” IN CALUMET, MI – 1913? STEFANI BISHOPNovember 25, 2014 http://wrkr.com/historys-mysteries-who-yelled-fire-in-calumet-mi-1913/

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1913 Massacre Film http://1913massacre.com/about/ ——————- “1913 Massacre”: Great movie about Michigan tragedy December 16, 2013 3:50 PM CST  BY BILL MEYER https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/1913-massacre-great-movie-about-michigan-tragedy/

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Yuletide union busting: Inside the Italian Hall Disaster on Christmas Eve 1913 By STATESIDE STAFF • DEC 13, 2017 http://www.michiganradio.org/post/yuletide-union-busting-inside-italian-hall-disaster-christmas-eve-1913

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PBS http://www.pbs.org/program/red-metal/ —————- five years ago WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2013 | SOURCE: MLIVE.COM PBS documentary to explore Calumet’s Italian Hall disaster http://www.secondwavemedia.com/upper-peninsula/inthenews/italianhall112013.aspx

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Save the Wild UP December Gala Keynote Address lvgaldieri Louis V. Galdieri’s blog https://lvgaldieri.com/tag/documentary/

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From the FindAGrave web site I copied two family names to highlight how devastating it must have been for the families to lose all their children on one day. 1913 - two family names


The Ludington, Michigan newspaper item about the Calumet tragedy was cut off so one can only read the first words of the long item. What I could make out in the several items was that the community was not asking for help. — https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=FVNKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8SUDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5744%2C4569548

In the newspaper collection for Library of Congress I found this: The Calumet news. (Calumet, Mich.), 26 Dec. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86086633/1913-12-26/ed-1/seq-1/


I hope this blog post has given you some new information about the history of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and some history about the life of the miners who came to this country for a better life and in the end only found a harder more difficult one.

The tragedy of that December day in 1913 changed the lives of those families and perhaps changed the lives of your ancestors who might have been among those miners who came to the United States.

How many of those families left the town after the tragedy?

On the FindAGrave page you can see the names of all the people who died on that day. Maybe you will find a last name that is also on your family tree.

If you do find a relative then ask, “how was your life changed by this 1913 tragedy?”

The family tree is shaped by events in history; wars, famine, traffic accidents, natural disasters and Christmas parties gone wrong.

Thank You.

Jose from Clarkston, Michigan