This next visit to the Brooklyn Historical Society was a bit more enlightening than the last, partly because i was more comfortable with the library’s atmosphere. This week we learned about the Brooklyn Theater Fire that took place on December 5, 1876. An accident that ruined and destroyed many lives. The fire brought the death of over 278 individuals. We not only learned about the victims and the many deaths that took place, but also how this affected the victim’s families.
Again, the class was split in three each referring to a different resource document. My group looked over documents with information about the victims such as general income, age, and dependents they had. Generally, all the victims had a family they were providing income for. Left behind were, elderly parents, and young children with no means of supporting themselves. I really can’t imagine being put in a situation like this. It really is very sad the way the fire just burned away what was left of many people.
Like last week, seeing these documents firsthand, some of them handwritten, it’s very wrenching and a lot more personal. I just kept on thinking to myself….. poor people, they just didn’t know what was coming to them. They didn’t know it was there time to go. If they would’ve known they might have prepared something for their families, maybe a substantial amount of money to keep them going for a few months. But no…. things happen and it happened to many innocent people who were just interested in being entertained. As a society we learned more about security and preparation from this accident, but at what cost? It really got to me because I also enjoy these live theatrical performances and musicals. My body shivers at the thought of going through something similar to the Brooklyn theater fire.