Huge D.C. snowfall prompts recollections of 1922 Knickerbocker Theater tragedy
WASHINGTON, DC — In 1922, over two feet of snow collapsed the roof of one of the District’s most palatial movie theaters, the Knickerbocker. Scores of people were killed and injured. The recent big snowfall in the nation’s capital inspired this reminiscence of the disaster from theWashington Post.
The roof, covered with 28 inches on Jan. 28, pressed down on a faulty truss. One edge of the truss slipped off the wall and fell onto the crowd of 300 Saturday night filmgoers below. Then the entire roof — girders, beam, trusses, concrete — collapsed like a sheet cake.
“After I fell quite a way the floor of the balcony seemed to open from under me and then I dropped through with nothing under me,” survivor George Brodie wrote to his sister a few days later. “The screams around me woke me up… . I was practically buried under plaster and pieces of the chairs. Everything was pitch dark and as soon as I could I squirmed around and crawled out into a place that reminded me of a cave.”