9. The Knickerbocker Storm

Photographer: Library of Congress

Year: January 1922

Location: Washington, D.C.

Casualties: 98

The Knickerbocker Theater in Washington, D.C. was converted from an enclosed movie screen to an outdoor amphitheatre in no time flat. It fell on January 28, 1922, under heavy snow that had piled up over a foot and a half in just one day. The collapse crushed 98 moviegoers and injured 133 more. The damage was so profound and so confined that victims were treated in neighboring homes, and a nearby Christian Scientist Church took bodies into its basement like a morgue. Both the architect and the owner of the building later committed suicide, harboring remorse about the theater.