This photo of the Iroquois Theater auditorium
was shot the day after the fire from the stage (with some
camera distortion resulting in the melted-balcony
look). The photo was taken after the fly
bridge arc lamp was removed and taken to the court
With the furnaces
banked and large quantities of
water having been sprayed into the theater, a new
dimension was added to an already grim picture. The
winter of 1903-4 was the coldest on record in
Chicago, with thirty-one inches of snowfall and temperatures
averaging just over eighteen degrees. The floors at the Iroquois were soon covered
in ice and icicles hung from chandeliers, light
fixtures and balconies. The moisture and
temperature changes so damaged the plaster in places
on the back wall that it had to be propped up.
In the photo above
can be seen what looks like smoke at one of the
first floor fire escape doors but it is
entering the building, not exiting.
Presumably it is snow blowing in from outside.
The doors were likely opened to add light to the
scene. The stage door was certainly open as
well and several arc lamps were in operation.
interesting to see how much of the drapery and
"Hungarian Ash" wainscot was not destroyed by fire. The fire
ball belted straight out into the auditorium but
clothing and seat cushions did not feed it enough to
spread the flames to the north and south walls.