The Christmas season is generally considered a happy time of year. In the Copper Country, though, that happiness is tempered by memories of a long-ago tragedy.
One hundred nine years ago tomorrow, striking copper miners were holding a Christmas Eve party for children on the upper level of the Italian Hall in Calumet.
As more than 400 people packed the room, someone yelled “fire.” There was no fire, but the resulting stampede down the staircase toward the door resulted in a human logjam.
Seventy-three people were crushed to death. Fifty-nine were children.
Again this year, the CLK Rotary Club will commemorate the disaster by setting 73 luminaries at the site of the Italian Hall on Seventh Street. The fire hall bell will be rung at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon, the same time the bell rang in 1913 to call for help.
The luminaries will remain in place through Christmas Day.