William Curran resigned
from the building department in February, 1906,
two years after the Iroquois Theater fire.
In his inspection of the theater minutes
before the show started, he gave the
facility an A-OK. Curran was one of
fifteen building inspectors. Annual
salary: $1,200 ($31,000 today).
electrician Harry Hay Hornsby (1871-1943)
was filling in for Chicago city Electrician,
Edward B. Ellicott. Hornsby
was from St. Louis, Missouri. Three
years after the Iroquois Theater fire he
married Pauline Kimbell (1886-). In
1920 he operated his own electrical shop, by
1930 worked as a salesman for someone else's
operation and in the last decade of his life
Harry and Pauline ran a boarding house.
Louis E. Stanhope building inspector
Leon (Louis) Eugene
Stanhope (1874-1956) was a self-trained
architect who learned his craft while
working as a draftsman. One of his employers
was the legendary Chicago architectural
firm, Burnham & Root, where he helped prepare
designs for the 1893 worlds hair Columbian
Exposition. From 1893 to 1899 he was in
partnership with another noted Chicago
architect, John Pridmore. Several buildings
in today's Chicago Dover Street district were
Stanhope & Pridmore projects. He was
married to Maude "Mary" Leggett Stanhope
(1874-1931). They had one child, a daughter
named Dorothy "Dora" Quayle Stanhope
(1895-). Her marriage photo is
inspector, Victor Tousley Jr. (1876-1972),
was assistant to Harry
H. Hornsby. At trial the deputy
coroner, Lawrence Buckley, made much of Klaw
& Erlanger not having gotten permission from
the electrical department, via an
application submitted to Hornsby and
inspection passed by Tousley before the
Mr. Bluebeard company plugged in
twenty-five flood and twenty-five spot lamps
(there was also a reference to Klaw &
Erlanger traveling with "625 incandescent
and 25 arc lights"). Buckley and the
newspaper reporters were so eager for an
"aha!" moment that information was blurred.
The Iroquois was approved to use "2,400
incandescent lamps." The term
"incandescent lamps" seems to have been used
to mean bulbs, rather than fixtures.
Since there weren't
reports of testimony about exceeding that
2,400-bulb limit, am guessing either no one
went through the theater to count every
bulb. Or damage to stage lighting made
such an effort pointless. Instead
Buckley disregarded explanations about the
fifty lamps being plugged into extensions
and implied that Mr. Bluebeard stage
workers altered structural wiring.
Nothing more was reported about illegal
wiring so someone must have introduced
Buckley to extensions. Down, Larry.
No smoking gun, just a plug.
Tousley was the son of
Wisconsin parents, Wilber and Genoa Tousley.
His father, Wilber, a former publisher, died
just twenty days before the Iroquois Theater
fire. Victor's younger brother, John,
was also an electrician. In 1921 Victor may have
taken advantage of his father's contacts
when he co-published a book about
electricity that was marketed and
distributed by Sears Roebuck. In
the accompanying photo, taken during
Victor's Iroquois trial testimony, he looks
looks to be about twelve years old but he
was actually twenty-seven. By 1921 he
was head of the electrical sub section of
the Chicago building department.
Victor married Nila Commellson. They
had one child, named Gilbert Tousley.
If you have additional
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