Douglasville's Connection to the Knickerbocker Theater Disaster

Carolyn Upshaw was sixteen when her leg had to be amputated and she eventually succumbed to her injuries. Carolyn’s father was Lucius Upshaw, a former mayor of Douglasville.

This week I have a video for you to watch.

No, this isn’t Douglasville.

This video is from the Knickerbocker Theater disaster from 1922. The theater was located in Washington D.C.

The video is silent…..it is hand cranked footage, but it is still interesting to see, isn’t it?

The date was Jan. 28, 1922, and just after 9 p.m. the theater was packed with folks trying to forget the blizzard outside that had dumped several feet of snow on the city over a two day period.

Unfortunately, snow had accumulated on the flat roof of the theater and the structure gave way and caved in under the weight.

98 people were killed and 133 were injured…..  

Carolyn Upshaw was sixteen at the time and had been watching Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford….the movie showing that night. Ms. Upshaw was the niece of Congressman William D. Upshaw I’ve written about before here and here.

Newspaper accounts mention the Congressman’s niece having survived at first, but her leg had to be amputated. Sadly, she later passed due to her injuries.   Carolyn’s father was Lucius Upshaw, a former mayor of Douglasville. 

Carolyn’s body was laid to rest here at Douglasville City Cemetery next to her father who had passed the year before. The quotation on Carolyn’s grave says, “The nation’s heroine, beautiful in life, beautiful in death, beautiful in eternity.”

Her tragic death shocked everyone from Atlanta to Douglasville.


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