On November 28, 1942, nearly 500 men and women perished in the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire. Do their ghosts still haunt the site of the disaster 75 years later?
In 1942, Cocoanut Grove was one of Boston’s most popular nightspots. On the night of the fire, more than 1,000 revelers were packed in a building rated for just 460 occupants. Though officials never identified a specific cause, the blaze likely started after a teenage busboy lit a match near one of the nightclub’s decorative palm fronds. In less than a minute, the fire spread across the nightclub’s fabric-covered ceiling, showering patrons with sparks and bits of burning fabric. The fireball then traveled up a narrow stairway to the main level and soon spread to the entire nightclub.