Revere Hotel marks the 75th anniversary of the tragic Cocoanut Grove fire

BOSTON — The Revere Hotel hosted a solemn gathering on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, with survivors of the tragic fire that killed more than 490 people in the Cocoanut Grove dinner club.

Revere Hotel Tim Brett hosted several survivors of the Cocoanut Grove fire including Marshall Cole, shown in these photos that were taken by Bill Brett.

The raging fire started in the basement of the restaurant late on Saturday, Nov. 28, 1942, and quickly spread throughout the structure at 17 Piedmont St., which is now the site of the Revere Hotel.

Even with exits blocked and decor and decorations that allowed the fire to spread quickly, the tragedy could have been worse, according to a city history. A crew of firefighters were about a block away fighting a car fire just as patrons started to flee the burning club. Also, employees knew of other exits including windows. More than 115 burn victims were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital in the first two hours of the fire.

Cole, who was just a teen and performing as a tap dancer at the club, talked about his experience that fateful night 75 years ago as others reviewed the displays at the hotel.

The fire, one of the deadliest in the country’s history, brought about safety protocols and changes that are still in place today.

All photos by Bill Brett


  • Mike Hanlon (#)
    November 29th, 2017

    Hello Bill,
    It was great to see you at our Cocoanut Grove Memorial at The Revere Hotel and thank you for capturing this historic event in Boston’s history. By the way, we can’t thank Tim enough for his generous contribution to making the Memorial happen. You can be very proud of Tim. The Hotel and Tim’s staff were outstanding and made everyone feel very comfortable. During the event, you took a photo of me with Marshall Cole and I wanted to ask if you could send me a copy? Thank you very much.

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