Opera House Fire, 1908, Blog Exclusive (Graphic Image Warning)

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Four 1908 real photo postcards documenting the Rhoads Opera House fire and aftermath. From Wikipedia:

The Rhoads Opera House Fire occurred on Monday evening, January 13, 1908 in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. The opera house caught fire during a stage play sponsored by nearby St. John’s Lutheran Church. The fire started when a kerosene lamp being used for stage lighting was knocked over starting a fire on the stage. In short order the spreading fire ignited a mixture of lighting gas & oxygen from a malfunctioning stereopticon machine being used to present a magic lantern show at intermission. Audience members waited for the fire to be extinguished by theatre personnel, wasting the precious minutes they needed to escape safely.

The stage and auditorium were located on the 2nd floor and the few emergency exits available were either unmarked or blocked. Two fire escapes were available but were only accessible through latched windows whose sills were located 3 & 1/2 feet above the floor. Of the approximately 400 men, women, and children either in attendance or associated with the performance of the play 171 perished in various ways as they tried to escape the conflagration. In the panic to escape many were crushed in the narrow main entrance stairway as well as against the jambed main exit swinging doors of the 2nd floor auditorium. In a few instances entire families were wiped out. One firefighter John Graver, was also killed while responding to the incident.

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Death Certificate & Grave (Archive Image #3242)

The death certificate and grave (credit: Theresa Victory, 2015) of 15-year-old Elbert Estes, who died of a ruptured appendix.

Two photos of Elbert in his casket can be seen in our members section:

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The Grave of the Poisoned Children (Archive Image #3197)

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Grave of young siblings (pic shows front and back), who drank poison.
Their very sad post mortem photo and more info about their story can be seen
here:

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Dedication of Tombstone, Woodmen of the World (Blog Exclusive)

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Fellow Woodmen of the World members and family of R.D. Moore (1884-1907) gathered to place his headstone, which was paid for by Moore’s fraternal Wow lodge. The lodge’s banner is being held up next to the marker, and members are wearing black mourning ribbons, mostly likely printed with Moore’s name.

The grave is located in  Lathrop Cemetery in Lathrop, Missouri.

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