The Knickerbocker Theater was an old-fashioned movie palace in Washington, DC designed by Reginald W. Geare for local theatre mogul, Harry Crandall. On January 28, 1922, while patrons were watching Jimmy Durante's film debut in the comedy Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford, 28 inches of snow caused the Knickerboof's roof to collapse, killing 98 people, in an event still known as the Knickerbocker snowstorm of 1922. [more inside]
America's worst school violence ever was not a recent event, but the Bath School disaster of 1927. Andrew Kehoe, a school board member upset with his tax bill, used dynamite and some pyrotol from WWI-era military surplus to blow himself up along with the elementary school of Bath Township, Michigan, leaving 45 dead and 58 injured. See a 1927 book on the disaster, a list of victims, the coroner's inquest, a historical marker, a memorial park, an oral history from a witness, and a 1920s KKK rant denouncing Kehoe as an agent of the Roman Catholic conspiracy.
Fire Disaster, What Have We Learned? The recent Great White nightclub tragedy has made it imperative to study previous deadly fires in public buidlings, such as the Iroquois Theater, the Cocoanut Grove, the Beverly Hills Supper Club, the Natchez Rhythm Club, the Happy Land Social Club, and the 1944 Hartford circus fire. The sad thing is that many of these deaths could have been preventable.