Check Out This Immersive Collinwood School Fire Project

click to enlarge Check Out This Immersive Collinwood School Fire Project
CSU Cleveland Memory
Growing up in Cleveland, we all sort of eventually come to learn the story of the Collinwood school fire — the tragic 1908 blaze that killed 172 students and, now, gets incorrectly cited as the reason public buildings have doors that open outward. Lake View School, an imposing brick structure, was consumed quickly, and the memory of the conflagration remains an important part of local and national history.

And so it's with that backdrop that we stumbled onto The Collinwood Fire, 1908 has the scope of a scholarly book but is, instead, a formally complex, multi-media, digital story. Many people have contributed to the project, and we hope that others will do so by using and responding to it. collinwoodfire.org this morning, a multimedia project that takes those of us stuck in the present back to the fire.

"The Collinwood Fire, 1908 has the scope of a scholarly book but is, instead, a formally complex, multi-media, digital story," the creators write. "Many people have contributed to the project, and we hope that others will do so by using and responding to it."

The website features a plethora of educational tools — portals meant to enhance classroom lessons on the implications of the fire. Beginning with an incredibly jarring short film about the fire as it's happening — one that stokes William Bullock's deliberately sensationalist style of the time while relaying a very realistic vision of what it might have been like in Collinwood that day — the project underscores and reminds us of the lack of coherence and meaning in one of Cleveland's great disasters.

(Friendly nod to Frank Lewis for pointing this out.) 

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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