Saturday, December 07, 2013

Maude Whiteman's Courage Recalled

Maude Whiteman
Maude Whiteman, 61, survived the Winecoff Hotel fire and saved the lives of eight others.

Whiteman operated the Winecoff Hotel's cigar shop by day but had agreed to stay in the hotel overnight to assist the elderly wife of one of the hotel's co-lessors who was away on a hunting trip.

Unable to go down, some guests were pulled up to room 1612.
Whiteman sustained back and rib injuries when she helped pull other desparate and terrified guests into her room's window via sheet ropes.

Her quick and rational thinking had kept smoke from overtaking room 1612, the hotel's uppermost room on the Peachtree-Ellis Street corner. Said Whiteman, "I never lost my head for one moment. I put our predicament up to Almighty God."

Nero Pitman carries Esther Geele
away from the fire scene.
"I could hear precious little Esther (Geele) calling, 'Mrs. Whiteman Mrs. Whiteman,' from her room (below).

"She fell into my arms when we got her up and opened those big old eyes and said, 'God owns the world'," said Whiteman.

Whiteman was the stalwart against rising panic in room 1612 and the group she sheltered lived to tell about it.

Maude Whiteman is assisted away from the
scene of America's deadliest hotel fire.
Maude Whiteman's story is told on pages 103,104 and 117 of The Winecoff Fire: The Untold Story of America's Deadliest Hotel Fire. More on the action in room 1612 is here. Whiteman's full biography is here.

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Thursday, December 05, 2013

Sixty-Seventh Anniversary Coverage

Atlanta public radio station WABE-FM has broadcast a story noting the sixty-seventh anniversary of the Winecoff Hotel fire. In a six minute radio piece Steve Goss interviews well known Atlanta historian Cliff Kuhn. Kuhn tells the story of the fire. To listen click here.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published a remembrance of the fire including quotes from Winecoff Fire co-author Sam Heys. The article by Andy Johnston appeared in the December 3rd edition.

Mary Marsh has written a loving remembrance of Winecoff fire victim Freda Constangy. Read it here.

Dan Whisenhunt, writing for, has interviewed Jennifer Hardy about her grandfather's Pulitzer Prize winning photograph. His article is here.

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