Welcome to this week’s History Thread! This week we’re going to do something potentially NSFW: Sex in history. Awhile back we discussed sex scandals specifically, but use this topic to discuss anything about humanity’s oldest and most reliable pass time: sexual practices throughout different cultures, famous cases of romance or sex gone right or wrong, erotic art in Ancient Egypt or modern New York, etc. Erotic images are okay in this context (provided they’re art work or historical photos – no random nudes please), but please spoiler tag for anyone who wants to avoid explicitness and/or is reading from work or in front of their family.
Today’s picture is decidedly unerotic: on November 28th, 1942 the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston burned to the ground, killing 492 people, which makes it the second-deadliest building fire in American history. Despite having a capacity of 460, the club was packed with 1,000 Thanksgiving revelers, servicemen and others. Most accounts blame an errant busboy lighting a match and catching one of the grove’s decorative palm trees on fire, which spread throughout the building in matter of minutes. Once the fire spread it was a disaster: the managers, in a brilliant bit of foresight, bolted several of the fire escape doors shut, ostensibly to prevent patrons from leaving without payment, boarded up a window for reasons unknown, and the only front entrance was a revolving door which became a deathtrap. The most famous victim was actor Buck Jones, who reportedly died trying to rescue patrons from the club.