Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cocoanut Grove

In June 1941 my Grandfather was sworn in as a patrolman with the Boston police force.

Known parts of his regular beat are just about 2 blocks east from this site and it is quite possible that he was working the night of the Cocoanut Grove fire.

This corner is just about 2 blocks east from where I now work and I took these pictures a couple of weeks ago when curiosity got the best of me and I went looking for it.

A thought that runs through my mind now is that I really wish my Grandfather would have been the sort to keep a journal. He wasn't and he didn't so I can only speculate what his experiences were that night and the days and weeks that followed it.

Putting the place into perspective it should be remembered that over 400 people died here on this spot where now stand 2 small parking lots.
I think Stephanie Schorow well summed up the devestation to the city in her book,
'Boston on Fire':
"Few Bostonians were unaffected; if they didn't have a friend or a relative at the club, they knew someone who almost went there but left becasue it was too crowded. If they didn't have a firefighter in the family or a realative among ther city's medical staffs, they knew of a mother in labor who couldn't get a hospital room or of a funeral delayed because no coffins were available."
The bottom line pretty much being, this was the nightclub fire to end all nightclub fires. Laws were enacted nationally in hopes of preventing this sort of tragedy from ever happening again.
Then The Station nightclub fire happened and once again the collective public said, we need more laws, so this doesn't happen again.
It's my thinking that what we really need is the common sense to not patronise establishements where over crowding is the norm, and no matter where we are, to know how to get out of there in a hurry should we need to.
Otherwise, this is a lesson we are doomed to learn for the last time, over and over again...