Oh, the stories it could tell

Mystery item at old Cocoanut Grove site

Phil spent some time the other day sidewalk supervising construction of Piedmont Park Square, which is rising above the site of the Cocoanut Grove disaster. Among the things he spotted was this wire-connector thing mounted on a basement wall.

Copyright Phil. Posted in the Universal Hub pool on Flickr.



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Just wondering

Are the real estate agents going to tell all the Chinese and Indian and Saudi buyers of the luxury condos on the site that they are living over the scene of 492 violent deaths?



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I wonder if there will be some kind of plaque or memorial on the new building to replace the one on the ground that I assume has been displaced by the construction? It was small and almost unnoticeable, but at lest it was something. It would be a shame if there was nothing at all there to memorialize the spot.


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I read Barbara Walters Biography a few years ago, and because I'm weird like that, I walked around that area trying to find it (her father managed it at one point...). The plaque was VERY small. You'd think it would be bigger, considering how much it shaped Boston (and building codes everywhere)

Actually BW's Biography has a ton of stuff about Boston and Hull in the early 20th century. That woman lived a full life long before she ever was on TV.

Obviously not a selling point...

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But I'm not sure why it has to be a deterrent either. People have been dying since the beginning of life - some violently, some not. Should we be mark every space where someone died? Not sure why the way someone dies determines whether we should ever use the space for anything but a memorial ever again. Even it's just one person dying violently, should it be hallowed ground? I'm not Saudi or Chinese, but if I could afford it and I liked the building - knowing the land once was occupied by a building that burned down and people died wouldn't make me not want to live there - unless of course I knew someone that died and it was a constant reminder of that.


Have you not been keeping up? Big international money is one of the biggest buyers of the new downtown luxury condos.


How is it racist? Lots of

How is it racist? Lots of luxury condo buyers happen to be members of those groups. Is mentioning an ethnicity now racism? They're foreigners who might not know the history of the site because they're not from here.


by not being "Saudi or

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by not being "Saudi or Chinese" I was referencing the first comment. I wouldn't normally disassociate myself with any particular race/ethnicity.

I think Lanny's comment about

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I think Lanny's comment about the Chinese is pretty accurate (no idea about the Indians and Saudis).

I'm Chinese (born in LA but whatever), and I think the traditional culture is superstitious enough that a good number of mainlanders (the source of all this money) would definitely shy away from buying a place on the spot where 492 people died. Ghosts are a HUGE aspect of the religion and culture, even today. Your ancestors are totally chill, but it's the other ghosts you need to worry about. These weren't happy deaths.

Obviously it's a generalization. But about as accurate as saying the Chinese like to gamble.

There is something to it

Generally I listen with a skeptical ear to ghost stories.

But there's no other explanation for the pain & sorrow in the air at, say, Gettysburg, for example. It's palpable.

There is something about the energy from the trauma of violent deaths hanging around.

You Obviously

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You obviously do not know much about the Cocoanut Grove fire. That tragedy happened because of lack of fire exits and sprinklers. 492 People died in that fire.. all for a lack of proper exits (and ones that were locked).

Cocoanut Grove shaped much change in fire code in the US.

In short, yes it was a big deal, and yes a plaque should go back up.

The majority of the Cocoanut

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The majority of the Cocoanut Grove site has been occupied by what is now the Revere Hotel (formerly the Radisson) for 40+ years. Do they tell the hotel guests about what happened there?

I was by there a couple of

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I was by there a couple of weeks ago and noticed that they had renamed the little street that cut through the original block (roughly at where the revolving door entrance to the club was) - I think it had been Broadway Extension, but it's now Cocoanut Grove Road. So the developers are clearly leaning into the history, rather than away.

One word: ghosts

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Either you believe in spirits and superstitions or you dont but a lot of old timely elevators do not have a 13th floor. And the number 3 in chinese is bad luck . And if you are Orthodox Jew you cant press any elevator buttons on the sabbath. And didn't you see amityville horror? That is a true story too. Not sure it would affect my buying a condo there - Knock wood .

Site work

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Having lost my paternal grandparents and my grandfathers sister to the Cocoanut Grove Fire, I am very interested in a couple of things. First, where is the plaque, second would be whether anyone form the City of Boston or the development company are recovering any artifacts recovered from the site? In my experience with keeping the memory of those that perished alive, I know that the generations of people who lost their family members continue the search for answers and pieces of the history of the Grove. I understand people move on but we also have to learn from our mistakes and make sure that peoples live were not lost in vain. I am personally almost satisfied with the changes that this fire has brought about in society, but it still feels that something bigger needs to be done.