Boston, MA Cocoanut Grove Club Fire, Nov 1942

Cocoanut Grove Night Club Fire from Front View Of Building Side View of Building Memorial Plaque Memorial Plaque




Lowell -- With scores of charred bodies remaining unidentified in Boston morgues, Greater Lowell had already counted 10 dead and one missing in the horrible holocaust enacted at the Cocoanut Grove club Saturday night, as the tragic list kept mounting early this afternoon.

Greater Lowell Victims.
KELLY, MARY E., 21 Myrtle street, Lowell.
ROGERS, MILDRED, 50 Varnum street, Lowell.
FITZGERALD, Private HENRY T., 29, Lake street, Wilmington.
FITZGERALD, JAMES J., 39, Lake street, Wilmington.
FITZGERALD, JOHN A., 41, Lake street, Wilmington.
FITZGERALD, Wilfrid A., 31, Lake street, Wilmington.
LOWE, GEORGE T., 45, Frost road, Tyngsboro.
QUINLAN, Sergt, JOHN J., Burnap street, Wilmington.
ALTIERI, Private FRED L., Fort Devens.
ADLER, Private MILTON DAVID, Fort Devens.

PEAVEY, JANE, daughter of Col. HARRY C. PEAVEY, Fort Devens.

GOODWIN, JAMES, U. S. Coast Guard, Woburn street, North Wilmington, rescue worker.

Other Victims Well Known Here.
AMBROSE, MARION, 42 Fine street, Winchester.
GRIFFIN, HELEN C., 330 Primrose street, Haverhill.
WELCH, HELEN, 28 Lebanon street, Winchester.
(All Lowell State Teachers' College graduates)
GILBRIDE, CAROLYN, 20, 44 Grant road, Swampscott.
DEE, ANNA, 10 Bromfield street, West Somerville, also a Lowell State Teachers' College graduate.

The pall of grief arising from the unprecedented catastrophe, spread to the families of two Lowell young women, four Wilmington brothers, a Wilmington army sergeant and a Tyngsboro World War veteran. In addition, Lowell relatives and friends mourned the deaths of four young women living in other communities, but well know here as a result of attendance at the Lowell State Teachers' college. At least two Fort Devens soldiers also died.

Six of the local victims were members of a party of 12 men and women, only one of the whom was saved. There included MARY E. KELLY, 21 Myrtle street; MILDRED ROGERS, 50 Varnum street, and HARRY, JAMES, JOHN and WILFRID FITZGERALD of Lake street, Wilmington.
The town of Wilmington bore the brunt of Greater Lowell's losses, for in addition to the four FITZGERALD brothers, Sergt, JOHN J. QUINLAN of Burnap street, Wilmington, stationed at Fort Devens, also died in the club fire. MISS ROGERS was principal of a Wilmington grade school.
Late reports placed among the missing and probably dead, the name of MISS JANE PEAVEY, daughter of Col. and MRS. HARRY C. PEAVEY of Fort Devens. MISS PEAVEY'S father, dental chief at the fort, was leading a search for his this noon, with but scant hope of finding her alive.
Two Fort Devens soldiers were definitely placed among the dead. Officials gave their names as Private First Class FRED L. ALITERI and Private MILTON DAVID ADLER, the former a resident of Somerville. ADLER'S home city was not known at press time.
Several other Fort Devens officers and soldiers may also have lost their lives, and a thorough check was being made today.

Well-known here and all dead, are: The MISSES MARION AMBROSE, 42 Fine street, Winchester; HELEN WELCH, 28 Lebanon street, Winchester; CAROLYN GILBRIDE, 44 Grant road, Swampscott and HELEN C. GRIFFIN, 330 Primrose street, Haverhill. They were graduates of the local Teachers' college. Several have local relatives. Injured, is MISS ANNA DEE of 10 Bromfield street, West Somerville, also widely known and a former Teachers' college student.
The World War veteran who survived German bullets and shells, only to succumb in the Boston fire, was GEORGE T. LOWE, 45, of Frost road, Tyngsboro recently moved to Boston, where he was working at the navy yard.
LOWE'S sister, MRS. JULIA THOMPSON or read 238 Appleton street, heard her own name called out in reports yesterday as being among the dead. The case of mistaken identity caused many calls to come to her home and was apparently the result of her name being found on her brother's body.
The most tragic episode in the greater-Lowell area, was the near wiping-out of a party of 12 persons who had gathered at the club to fete the home-coming for the Thanksgiving holiday of two soldiers, Pvt. HENRY FITZGERALD of Wilmington and Pvt. ROBERT HORRIGAN of Turners Falls.
This group, comprising of six men and six young women, went to the club only a short time before fire broke out. All perished, with the exception of Pvt. HORRIGAN, who lies gravely injured in a Boston hospital.
Throughout the city and its suburbs, grief was widespread. For the first time since Pearl Harbor war was only a secondary topic. The city actually appeared stunned, although the tragedy occurred more than 25 miles away.
Lowell contributed the use of its patrol wagon, converted into an ambulance and several rescue workers while Wilmington supplied its own ambulance and a number of workers, one of whom was injured. He was JAMES GOODWIN, a member of the U. S. coast guard, who was hurt while aiding in removing victims. GOODWIN is belived to be the only Greater Lowell person injured.



Oddly, my great aunt and

Oddly, my great aunt and uncle - Josephine and Oliver St. Pierre, who were killed in the fire and listed on the police transcript report, are not included in this list.

Dauntless Dotty

This is amazing. I found this by accident. I was just thinking of the fire and wondering whatever happened to her. She married my 1st cousin and as a child I remember the gloves and veil. What a voice. I think I have a 75 RPM record still buried in storage with her singing on it. Can you tell me the names of the books. She even had a baby girl. Then they disapeared somewhere. And yes I remember them saying she wanted to go to NY.

My grandfather was Emerald

My grandfather was Emerald James Knox (Empy). I think that Empy and Clarence were cousins, not brothers. From what I remember from family stories is Ruthie spent a lot of time with my dad's family. I am the only one that I know of in the family with reddish hair and I remember when I was a child all of the older people talking about Ruthie's red hair.


THANK YOU DAVID. My dad is the only living person from that generation and he did not know where she was buried. I will look up the picture in the Globe.

Coconut Grove Fire - Lost Grandparents

I am trying to find out about some family history. My grandparents died in this fire and I want to learn more about it. I bielieve my grandfathers name was Thomas O'neil, which I see on the list, but I don't see a wife. My mom and siblings a gone so I can't really check. If anyone has any information or a reference place I can look to find out more about who was there that night, I would greatly appreciate it. It was to painful for my mother to talk about but I feel a big part of my family history is missing and I want to find it. Thank you.

My Grand Aunt Louise Hollander, Hubert

On Nov. 28, 1942 my Grand aunt Louise and her husband, Edgar F. Hubert, having found out that she was finally pregnant, took her parents, Matthias and Elizabeth Hollander out to celebrate at the Cocoanut Grove, in Boston, (her father, Matthias had stayed behind bacause he had to work). When the fire erupted, Louise was separated from the rest and died in the fire. The loss devastated her parents and within a few months her mother, Elizabeth died. For several months her father's health declined and at some point he expressed to his son that he had nothing left to live for. He died a few days later.

Grandmother is a survivor

My grandmother is a survivor of the Cocoanut Grove fire. She was 16 at the time. She was with her parents, her boyfriend, and his parents. They were at the Grove after attending the football game. There were only two of the group who survived, my grandmother and her boyfriend's mother. Such a tragic story.

My father helped victims of the Coconut Grive Fire

My mother Louise talked several times over the years about how she and my father were at the scene of this fire. My father was in the Army Air Corps, and attending weather forecasting school at MIT. They were out and about that night near the Coconut Grove, and when they came on the scene of the disaster, my father assisted where he could. My mother talked about how horrendous the fire was, with the high loss of life. You could say I was at the fire too, as I was born the following May.

My Cousin Ruthie Knox

Who is your Dad? Ruth was my father's sister Kay's daughter (my father's niece). According to my mother Marion, Ruth was a real beauty. She had red hair. Every anniversary the media would show picture of that terrible night. My mother believed the woman being carried out was Ruth Knox.

Cocoanut Grove Fire

My mother tells the story of my grandmother, Mary Logan, being in Boston City Hospital, not long after giving birth to my uncle Paul Logan. Since she was a nurse by trade, she offered her bed, and her help in caring for any wounded, but very few survivors were brought to City, though many of the recovered dead were. She told my mother how she stood helplessly in her room window, watching them lay out the bodies in parking made such an impression on her, that she told us, and my mother echoed to NEVER go into a pulic building without first finding out how to get out. I recall staying at a hotel with her in my teens, as she & I scouted out the emergency exits. Made quite an impression on me growing up. My mom also had a school friend who lost her mother, who was either a waitress or coat room worker. She said just about everyone knew someone who lost someone......