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In Person History Talk: The Cocoanut Grove Fire

Tuesday September 27, 2022
7:00 PM until 8:30 PM

This will be an in person talk by Historian Bob Begin about the famous Boston Cocoanut Grove Fire.  In November of 1942, America was feeling the full brundt of the war.  Across the globe, war was raging on all fronts.  Europe was under German control, in North Africa, GI's were up against Italian and German forces, and in the Pacific, Marines were fighting the Japanese on air, land, and sea for control of a remote island named Guadalcanal.  Casualities of American boys were increasing as the war grew in scope and intensity.    The government announced that 600,000 men would be drafted in December.  Rationing was in place, price controls were implemented, and war-related industries were working 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.  The entire country was united and focused on the war.  In Boston, the city was full of men in uniform coming and going.  The harbor was full of merchant ships and warships.  People were full of anxiety, not knowing what the future would bring.  Parents, brothers and sisters would all share what unknowns lay ahead.

Yet, people would still try and find a way to enjoy life or at least to defer the worry of tomorrow.  There were escapes: a movie, a dance, a drink or two in one of the "hot spots."  One such place was the Cocoanut Grove, a romantic, exotic, and popular nightclub.  Eerybody would be there, and on the night of Nov. 28th, the place was packed with people looking for an escape.  At about 10:15 PM, a fire would break out in the Melody Lounge.  This fire would be one of the most deadly in America's history.  It would be a tragedy that claimed the lives of 492 people and scarred hundreds more.  What caused it, how it spread, and who were the victims is what you will learn at this fascinating presentation!  Please join in person in the Keys Room to learn more. 

Mr. Begin is an avid history fan and devotes his research to interesting and inspiring topics from American chronology.  He grew up in Lewiston, Maine, graduated from Babson College in 1965, and then served 2 years in the Army - both stateside and a little while in Panama.  He then moved to Boston and got a job with St. Regis Paper Company, and worked there for 35 years, eventually as Logistics Manager.  He married in 1967 and started a family, but always continued his thirst for history, particularly naval history.   Now we all have the pleasure of enjoying his accessible and enthusiastic programs about lots of historical topics! 

This program now does not require advance registration - just come and bring yourselves and find a seat!  We look forward to seeing you there!

(This program will not be available virtually; however it will be available to view later as "on demand" at the Milton Access Cable website - contact for more details about viewing it after the date.)

This program is kindly sponsored by the Friends of the Milton Public Library and is free and open to all.


Also please note that Mr. Begin will be giving another presentation on Tuesday, November 1st called "Amundsen, Scott, and Shackleton: The Race to the Pole" starting at 7 PM (and you may register here at our events list when signup opens, in advance, under 11/1 to receive the Zoom link.) 

Location: Keys Community Room
Click here to go to the Milton Public Library calendar.

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This page last updated : EK/TK MAP2 2021.08.24 - 1:20 PM
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