Friday, November 4, 2022

The Origins of Death Alley

Author: Kei

Death Alley, an ominous name of an alleyway in Chicago where many bodies were laid to be identified. The Alley is rested behind a Theatre that was called the Iroquois theatre in 1903 and is currently called the Oriental Theatre. The Iroquois Theatre is located at 24-28 west Randolph Street, between State Street and Dearborn Street, in Chicago Illinois. The Alley is located at he couch place or 24 Randolph Street.   

The Theater was said to be fireproof like how the Titanic was boasted to be unsinkable. The Theater was unfit for fires and had many problems. Inside the theatre there were no sprinklers, alarms, telephones, water connections and not many easily accessible exits. The building was fit with asbestos curtains and the fire man of the building discussed the Deficiencies of the building with the fire chief. The fire chief and fire man of the building did nothing out of fear of the syndicate who owned the building would dismiss their fears, they were also told they could do nothing as the theatre had its own fireman. 

On the day of said fire the theater was filled with about 2,100-2200 people in attendance to the theater (most of those being children watching the matinee performance). During the beginning of the second act of a musical called “In the Pale Moonlight” an arc light ignited a curtain, and the fire began to spread, many tried to dose and stop the fire to no avail. As the fire spread many people in the crowd were in unrest and a man named foy attempted to calm the crowd, as he was, he saw just how many people were in the Theater. The audience began to try to flee out of the doors but couldn’t get past bascule locks on the doors. The performers on stage were able to escape out bigger doors that were used to transport props to the Theater but while doing so made the fire bigger as the cold air rushed in.

The fire killed about 300 people and in those were only five actors that were present. The victims of the fire were killed by being trampled by scared people looking to flee, asphyxiated by fire, smoke, and gasses. This event has led to an impact on the change of theater safety laws and all theaters in the country were closed for retrofitting (some in Europe too). The alley that lay behind this ill-fated theater became itself after the fir as many of the dead bodies were laid there to be identified after the fire. The Alley is now a place where many who walk past say they feel phantom hands and whispers of your own name in the alley. Tales of ghouls who stole from the victims of the fire are told also. This Alley is used by commuters of Chicago and stage performers today.

Works Cited:

 Added by Leylairoyale, Edited by beingabear, Collector of Experiences, erjeffrey, and Mat Everywhere, “Couch Place [The Alley of Death].” Atlas Obscura, 25 Jan 2018.

 Crozier, Elizabeth. “The History Behind Illinois’ Alley of Death Is Absolutely Heartbreaking.”

ONLY IN YOUR STATE, 27 Dec 2021.

Links for further research:

 Living Landmarks of Chicago. Does as the title says giving you a brief description of the events of the theater fire and a little building description.

 Chicago Tribune. This site provides pictures of the theater and description of where it’s located.

Windy City Ghosts. This site gives a good history of the events of the theater fire and the paranormal activity that happens in the alley.

No comments:

Post a Comment