D.C. December 22, 2016
A Terrifying, Deadly Storm Struck Washington DC In 1922… And No One Saw It Coming
Most Washingtonians remember the infamous Snowmageddon of 2010 and the Blizzard of 96 but there was one storm in Washington DC that was the deadliest storm to ever hit Washington DC. The Knickerbocker Storm in 1922 dumped 28 inches of snow onto DC and killed almost 100 people, making it the deadliest storm in DC’s history.
The Knickerbocker Storm struck on January 27th and snow fell all along the Atlantic coast of the country. An estimated 22,400 square miles of the northeast US was affected by 20 inches of snow from the storm.
DC was hit the hardest with snow reaching 28 inches. It’s recorded that someone in Rock Creek Park measured 33 inches of snow.
It was the biggest snowstorm ever recorded in Washington DC since official record keeping began in 1865.
The true tragedy of the storm was at the Knickerbocker Theatre, which was located in what is now the Adams Morgan neighborhood. It was the largest and newest theater in DC but it was built with one major design flaw.
The roof of the Knickerbocker was flat and when 28 inches of snow fell onto the roof, the roof split in half and fell crashing down. This occurred during a sold out show of Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford.
98 people were killed and 133 were injured. Snow continued to fall throughout the evening as over 600 rescue workers tried to help survivors. The owner of the theater and the architect were both wracked with guilt and blame and both later committed suicide.
The storm would be remembered as the Knickerbocker Storm and was truly one of the most devastating storms in Washington DC. You can view footage of the aftermath of the disaster from Jeff Krulik.