Monday, July 05, 2010

Hartford's darkest day remembered

Tuesday is the 66th anniversary of the Hartford circus fire, which killed 168 people and injured nearly 500.

The Mark Twain House and Museum will mark the anniversary by hosting a discussion among authors who've written about the fire, including novelist Mary-Ann Tirone Smith ("Masters of Illusion"), poet Paul Janeczko ("Worlds Afire"), and investigators Don Massey and Rick Davey ("A Matter of Degree: The Hartford Circus Fire and the Mystery of Little Miss 1565.") Kathy Maher, executive director of the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, will serve as moderator.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a screening of the Connecticut Public Television documentary on the fire. The panel discussion, entitled "Telling a Tragic Tale: Writers on the Hartford Circus Fire," follows at 7:30 p.m. Afterward, the authors will sign copies of their books, and visitors can view a collection of artifacts that will be on display in the Great Hall of the museum through July.

Admission is free. The Mark Twain House Museum is located at 351 Farmington Avenue. You'll find directions and a map here.

On Saturday morning, Cedar Hill Cemetery will hold its own event, including presentations from Pat Weibust, who attended the circus the day of the fire, and playwright Anne PiƩ, whose "Front Street" deals with the fire's impact on a local immigrant family. Following the presentations, there will be a tour of the graves of some of the people who lost their lives in the fire.

Cedar Hill Cemetery is located at 453 Fairfield Avenue, in the city's South End. (Map)

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