30, 1903 sisters thirty-six-year-old Minnie Henritta Hansen Christophersen (b.1867) and
twenty-three-year-old Lydia Isabella Hansen
(1880-1939) attended an afternoon matinee at
Chicago's newest playhouse, the Iroquois Theater.
Minnie was one of over six hundred people who lost
their lives that day. Lydia survived but was
her husband, Christopher Marius Christophersen
(1859-1940) lived at 231 N. Harvey in 1903.
Christopher was an officer in the C. Larsen Company,
a picture frame manufacturer. They married in
October, 1900. They did not have children.
Minnie and Lydia were the
daughters of Norwegian immigrants, John and Lena
Hansen, both of whom were still living at the time
of Minnie's death. They had one surviving
brother, Conrad A. Hansen. A fourth sibling
had died in early childhood.
of Lydia's injuries are not known but in 1909 she
was one of thirty-five victims to receive a $750
Fuller Construction, builder of the Iroquois Theater.
Minnie's body was identified
at Jordan's funeral home by Robert Beuckman, 216
Grand Avenue, who would later marry Lydia (right).
Her funeral was held at
her home on Monday, January 4, 1904, and she was
officially buried at Mt. Olive Cemetery in Chicago
that same day though some burials were actually
delayed until the ground had thawed enough to permit
In the years after the fire
In 1904 Lydia and Minnie's
father, John Hansen, retired from his job as a
carpenter on the railroad, with a monthly pension of
In 1905 Lydia married Robert
Henry Beuckman (1879-1860), the man who had
identified her sister's body. Robert co-owned
the Columbia Scale Company in Chicago, manufacturing
and servicing heavy-load scales. Founded in 1893,
the company was located at the
corner of Morgan and Ohio streets in Chicago.
Discrepancies and addendum
age of Iroquois victim Minnie H. Hansen Christophersen
was different in almost every list. Sometimes she
was said to have been thirty-five years old, other
times fifty-five, eighty-three, or eighty-five. Her
name was included in some lists, but not all. Her correct name spelling is as mushy as her age: her last
name was spelled as Christophersen, Christopherson
and Christephersen. A descendant of the family
kindly contacted me to shed some light based on
genealogy research by a family member who found that
Minnie was thirty-six. He also gave me a tip
that in general Danish names end in "en" while
Icelandic names end in "sson."
*The C. Larsen Company, for
which Christina's son Christopher was an officer,
with Charles Larsen as president, was originally
located on Hermitage St. in Chicago but in 1900
purchased the 150' x 120' corner at Kinzie and
Levitt streets for $7,000 and in 1906 built a
facility designed by J. F. Knudson. (Today the site
is home to
Alex Displays, makers of handsome trade
show booths, owned by Chuck and Steve Felder, and is
across the street from Chicago Mailing Tube.) The
Larson company was still in operation in 1922. Two
years after the fire Christopher married Alexandra Jazinski (1875-1940) and they had five children,
including a daughter born in 1912 – named Minnie,
presumably after her late grandmother. The
other children included Walter, Arthur and Sidney.