On January 18 at 5:30 p.m., Walter S. Griggs, Jr. delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “Historic Disasters of Richmond.”
Richmond has had its share of man-made and natural calamities throughout its illustrious history. In 1811, fire destroyed the Richmond Theatre on Broad Street, tragically claiming seventy-two lives in one of the worst urban disasters in American history. As Union forces approached Richmond in the final months of the Civil War, Confederate troops ignited the city in flames, leaving scars still visible today. The international Spanish flu epidemic did not spare the city in the early twentieth century. The worst airplane crash in Virginia history occurred near Byrd Airport in 1961. Local author Walter S. Griggs, Jr., tells these stories and more as he traces the harrowing history of Richmond’s most famous disasters.
Dr. Walter Griggs Jr. is an emeritus professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has written numerous books on a variety of historical subjects, including The Collapse of Richmond’s Church Hill Tunnel; The Hidden History of Richmond; World War II in Richmond, Virginia; and Historic Disasters of Richmond.