Interesting postcards of interior of the Iroquois Theater in Chicago after deadly fire. It was the deadliest theater fire and the deadliest single-building fire in U.S. history, resulting in at least 602 deaths.
‘Fire Scene, Main Floor. Iroquois Theater, Chicago.’
On right margin ‘E.C. Kropp Publ.’ Milwaukee, No. 928’
Stamped in margin ‘J. A. SCHMIDT. A.M. M. D. Physician and Surgeon 6225 S O. Halsted Street Chicago Illinois ’ and ‘FEB.18.1904'
Undivided back. Postmarked 'CHI. & WENT AVE. R.P.O. TP.6 FEB 18 1904’ and mailed to Berlin Germany.
Light crease UL corner.
‘Promenade Foyer, Iroquois Theater, Chicago. Scene of fire Horror. Where 588 people were killed Dec. 30, 1903’
On left margin ‘E.C. Kropp Publ.’ Milwaukee, No. 915’ Stamped in margin ‘JAN.19.1904.’ and ‘Dr. J.A. SCHMIDT Chicago Ill.’
Undivided back. Postmarked 'CHI. & WENT AVE. R.P.O. JAN 19 1904 TP12’ and mailed to Berlin Germany.
Some crease UR corner.
The Iroquois Theatre fire occurred on December 30, 1903, at the Iroquois Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It was the deadliest theater fire and the deadliest single-building fire in U.S. history, resulting in at least 602 deaths.
At about 3:15 p.m., shortly after the beginning of the second act, eight men and eight women were performing the double octet musical number "In the Pale Moonlight", with the stage illuminated by blue-tinted spotlights to suggest a night scene. Sparks from an arc light ignited a muslin curtain, possibly as a result of an electrical short circuit, although the lamp operator, William McMullen, testified that the lamp was placed too close to the curtain but stage managers failed to offer a solution when he reported the problem. McMullen clapped at the fire when it started but the flame quickly raced up the curtain and beyond his reach. Theater fireman William Sallers tried to douse the fire with the Kilfyre canisters provided, but by that time it had spread to the fly gallery high above the stage.
Mass panic ensued and, attempting their own escape from the burning building, many of those trapped inside tried climbing over piles of bodies. Corpses were stacked ten feet high around some of the blocked exits. The victims were asphyxiated by the fire, smoke, and gases, or were crushed to death by the onrush of other terrified patrons behind them. It is estimated that 575 people were killed on the day of the fire; at least thirty more died of injuries over the following weeks