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Saturday, March 26, 2011

TRIANGLE GARMENT FACTORY FIRE ANNIVERSARY MARCH 25, 1911




CNN commemorated this tragedy with a documentary called TRIANGLE Remembering The Fire on its anniversary today.  The deaths of 146 workers eventually led to changes in labour laws to protect workers in this industry. The Garment Workers' Union meets at this building yearly to this day.  
Interviews with the living relatives of some of those who died were especially poignant; the EMT who present at 9/11 saw the same horrendous sights of people jumping out of the building holding hands or with arms wrapped around each other as his grandfather did in 1911.  There were those who had to identify bodies by shoe wedges, or by stockings that were stitched in a certain way or by hair that had been braided just that morning by a friend.

The Brown Building, at 23-29 Washington Place between Greene Street and Washington Square East in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was the site on March 25, 1911 of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in which 146 garment workers, mostly young women, died, due to there being no way for them to exit the building. In the wake of the fire, landmark legislation was passed to protect the health and safety of workers.
The Asch Building, as it was called, was built in 1900-01, designed by John Wooley in neo-Renaissance style. The Triangle Shirtwaist Company occupied the top three floors. The building's facade was relatively undamaged by the fire, and New York University began renting parts of in 1916. In 1929, Frederick Brown, the owner at the time, donated the building to the university. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991 and a NYC landmark in 2003. There is a memorial plaque on the building from the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union, which was instrumental in getting the legislation passed, and historical plaques from the National Parks Service and the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation. {Source: Guide to NYC Landmarks (4th ed.))

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