Monument to Italian Hall victims moving forward

Daily Mining Gazette/Graham Jaehnig New concrete is being poured at the entrance to the Italian Hall park on Seventh Street in Calumet, replacing brick that had become wavy and dangerous to walk on.

CALUMET — The monument listing the names of the victims of the Italian Hall disaster, which occurred on Dec. 21, 1913, is scheduled to be installed in the Italian Hall Memorial Park on Seventh Street around the first week of November, according to Mike Lahti, Italian Hall Memorial committee chairman.

In addition to installing the monument, the committee is also in the process of replacing some of the brick paving stones at the entrance to the park with poured concrete.

“It was kind of treacherous to walk on,” Lahti said, “so, we got rid of that, and it’s going to be all continuing concrete, until you get to the good bricks that are fairly level, that aren’t going to injure anybody.”

The concrete will also make the park more handicapped accessible, allowing people to read both sides of the sign at the park entrance.

The monument, which is of black granite stone, weighs 8,000 pounds, Lahti said.

“It’s been a pretty good site,” Lahti said, “but to repair some of the stuff that’s damaged, make it a little more accessible to everybody, plus put in this memorial to the people who actually perished here.”

Lahti said he is not sure the exact date the stone will be installed, but it will before the onset of winter.

“This year yet,” he said, “probably around the end of the month, or the beginning of next month, around the first week of November, I think.”

The monument is currently in Minneapolis, Lahti said, because of its size.

“The reason it’s there to be carved,” he said, “is because it’s so wide they don’t have the mechanical etching machines (locally) that will do it, so it’s at that site.”

Before the engraving will be done, the committee must first get a mock-up of the monument. There are committee members, Lahti said, who are going to make sure that everything to be engraved is correct.

“They’re going to make sure that all the names are what they should be, and the spacing is right and so on and so forth,” said Lahti.

The Italian Hall Memorial Committee has been working closely with the Village Council because the park is owned by the village. The village has been cooperative in this project, Lahti said, “but they have also been hands-on as well.”