On March 4, 1908, flames tore through the Lake View School building in Collinwood, Ohio, trapping many of the roughly 350 people in it. 172 children, two teachers, and one rescuer died. In the following week, Collinwood, then a suburb adjacent to Cleveland, buried nearly half of its children. This tragedy has been all but lost in most accounts of American history, even as the Triangle Shirt Waist factory fire in New York is widely known and taught.
The Collinwood Fire, 1908 aims to bring the Collinwood fire back into the history of the United States. Its images, videos, and archival documents situate the fire within the context of rapid industrial expansion in the Midwest, growing immigration and racial tension, the history of education, and the rise of consumer culture.
It is hard to describe but absolutely absorbing: the Collinwood Fire, 1908 is a digital-native storytelling experiment, and includes a 7 minute animation, photos of old movie theaters in Cleveland, insight into mass media coverage of the day, and other archival research that provide larger context for the fire. It tells stories “across media and in ways that have simply not been available before.”
Come on in and take a look around.