1903, December 30: Iroquois Theater Fire
Diagram showing how people got out of the theater gallery. Source: Marshall Everett. The Great Chicago Disaster: The Complete Story Told by the Survivors. D.B. McCurdy, 1904.
On December 30, 1903, The Iroquois Theater at 24-26 W. Randolph was presenting Eddie Foy in “Mr. Bluebeard” to a matinee audience. When a piece of scenery caught fire the flames grew out of control within minutes. The audience, a capacity crowd with many children in attendance, panicked. Many exits were locked. The lights had gone out. In little more than 15 minutes, at least 600 people lost their lives. One result of the tragedy was the adoption of a new set of safety regulations for theaters.
- Archives of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County »
- Graveyards of Chicago: “Iroquois Theater Fire Memorial” »
- Illinois State Archives. Cook County Coroner’s Inquest Records, “Iroquois Theater Fire.” »