Italian Hall, 400 block of Seventh Street between Elm & Pine Str, Calumet, Houghton County, MI
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400 block of Seventh Street between Elm & Pine Str, Calumet, MI
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Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS MI-425
Building/structure dates: 1908 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1913 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 2001 demolished
Building/structure dates: 1961 subsequent work
Significance: Italian Hall, built in 1908 to the design of Paul Humphrey Macneil, was the site of the 1913 Christmas Disaster. In July of 1913 the miners struck the mining companies of the Michigan copper range. At Christmas the women's group of the strikers' organization held a party for their children. They rented the Italian Hall, a large second floor public meeting room owned by an Italian mutual benefit society. During the party, someone yelled, "fire." There was no fire. However, many of the large crowd, about four hundred, rushed for the exit stairs. The exit doors at the bottom of the stairs opened inward. People could not get them open and they began to pile up in the stairwell. About seventy-four persons died, over half of them children. The event led to even greater bitterness between union and company partisans. Woody Guthrie wrote the song "Copper Country 1913 Massacre," about the Italian Hall disaster. Architecturally, the Hall itself remains in quite good condition with stenciled decorations, tin ceiling, and impressively complete stage and machinery.
Macneil, Paul Humphrey
Donahue, P. J.
Anderson, Charles A.
Peninsula Heating & Plumbing Company
Nicholas, Wendy, Field Team
Harrington, Kevin, Historian
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
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