The Collinwood Fire is a multi-media platform for nonfiction storytelling about the Lakeview School fire in Collinwood, Ohio. On March 4, 1908, flames tore through the building, trapping many of the roughly 350 people in it. 172 children, two teachers, and one rescuer died. In the following week, Collinwood, a suburb adjacent to Cleveland, buried nearly half of its children. Some crucial circumstances of the tragedy were almost instantly knowable: the masonry exterior of the building acted as a chimney, sucking flame upward as the wooden interior burned; the school had only two exits and fire quickly blocked one of them; children rushed toward the other door, climbing over one another, finally packing the space so tightly that no one could get out; Collinwood’s horse-drawn fire equipment and volunteer fire department were woefully ill-equipped to fight the roaring blaze; in less than an hour, the three floors and the roof of the Lake View School collapsed into the basement, leaving only the ruined brick exterior and killing anyone who might still have been alive inside.
See the project at
The Middlebury College Digital Liberal Arts Initiative
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Library of Congress
David Miranda Hardy