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Remembering the Italian Hall tragedy

Above freezing temperatures were still in place at 8:00 Christmas Eve as a group gathered on 7th Street in Calumet to pay homage to the victims of the Italian Hall tragedy. Conditions were just right for a somber group singing of Silent Night.

The short ceremony was presided over by former Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw Rotary Club President Joel Keranen. He read the names of all 73 men, women, and children who passed away in a stampede at the former social club, spurred on by a false shout of fire during a Christmas party for miner families.

The group amassed between the arch, carefully restored by the late Fred Testa, and the permanent memorial. The path to the plaza was lined with luminaries, one for each victim. Keranen says the wood and frosted glass displays are permanent. Put into storage on Christmas Day, they will take their place again in late December of 2022 in the run up to another memorial. The observance is generally informal and the public is welcome.

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