Larry Lankton at Italian Hall Ceremony

Larry Lankton Italian HallCeremony conducted at Italian Hall site

Giving the historical perspective for the tragedy was Larry Lankton, professor emeritus of 19th century industrial history at Michigan Technological University.

Lankton said at the time of the 1913-14 copper strike, Finns were the largest foreign-born ethnic group in Houghton County and the fourth largest ethnic group working the copper mines in Calumet. Many mine bosses didn’t like the Finns, which often made life difficult for them.

“I think you would have found things less inviting,” he said.

At the time of the strike, Lankton said the copper coming out of the Calumet & Hecla mines in and around Calumet was the lowest grade in the United States and it brought the lowest price per pound in the U.S.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Kurt Hauglie.

Videos, photos: Italian Hall Ceremony in Calumet

A large crowd gathered at the site of the 1913 Italian Hall disaster in Calumet on June 20, 2013, for a ceremony honoring the 73 victims, mostly children, who who were crushed to death in the stairwell of the Italian Hall when someone yelled “Fire” — a false alarm — during a Dec. 24, 1913, Christmas Party for the children of striking miners.

Read more and watch video at Keweenaw Now, by Michele Bordieu.