Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Photo Essay: Hartford Circus Fire Memorial

Youth Journalism International reporter Tom Vaughn visited the Hartford Circus Fire Memorial recently and captured these images. Seventy years ago this month, 168 people, many of them children, perished in that terrible fire under the Big Top. Vaughn and other YJI reporters wrote about some of the survivors in this story. The memorial is behind the Wish School at 350 Barbour St. in Hartford, Connecticut.


Tom Vaughn / youthjournalism.org
A marker at the entrance to the Hartford Circus Fire Memorial.

Tom Vaughn / youthjournalism.org
Brick pavers leave memorial messages in a large circle at the focal point of the memorial. The bricks in this photo remember Emmett Kelly, a famous circus clown who was there that day and survived the fire, and author Stewart O'Nan, who wrote a definitive book about it, The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy. 

Tom Vaughn / youthjournalism.org
People visiting the memorial study the focal point of the memorial, which marks the spot of the center circus ring, while others read the messages on the bricks and remember those lost in the terrible blaze.

Tom Vaughn / youthjournalism.org
The entrance to the center ring area at the memorial.

Tom Vaughn / youthjournalism.org
Carnations arranged over the focal point of the memorial on the 70th anniversary of the fire honor the memory of those lost that day.

Tom Vaughn / youthjournalism.org
Some of the bricks in the center ring area are painful to read, even 70 years later.

Tom Vaughn / youthjournalism.org
A site orientation marker at the Hartford Circus Fire Memorial shows the location of the Big Top tent, the entrances and other important places on the grounds.
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