Galesville, IL High School Gym Balcony Collapse, Jan 1929

Spectators of Cage Game Injured When Balcony Collapses

Galesburg, Ill. Jan. 9.-(UP)-Investigation was in progress today to determine responsibility for the collapse of a balcony in the Knoxville High School gymnasium last night during a basketball game. More than 30 persons were injured and 14 of the victims remained in Galesburg hospitals today.

Knoxville and Abingdon, traditional rivals, had just started a game for the Knox County title. The gymnasium formerly used by St. Albans school was packed. The balcony, recently built to add to the seating capacity, contained approximately 100 spectators. An equal number stood beneath.

Suddenly there was a crash and one end of the balcony gave way, plunging those above to the floor and burying many of those beneath. In the fall, the switch control box on the wall was scraped off and the building was plunged into darkness. Panic threatened as the screams of frightened women, the moans of the injured, and shouts of men filled the structure.

Ames Daily Tribune and Evening Times, Ames, IA 9 Jan 1929

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‘Gym’ Balcony Collapsed; 30 Persons Hurt

Galesburg, Ill., Jan. 9.-(AP)-More than 30 persons were in hospitals today with injuries suffered when a balcony in the Knoxville High school gymnasium collapsed during a basketball game.

Altho (sic) many were only cut and bruised, others suffered broken legs and arms in the accident that terminated the game between Knoxville and Abingdon last night.

About 100 fans were in the balcony when one side gave way as they stamped their feet and cheered. It fell upon scores of spectators seated beneath and in falling scraped the control box of the electric light system from the wall, plunging the gym into darkness.

Student Repairs Lights.

The darkness added to the terror of the frightened and injured spectators and the screams of women and the moans of the injured filled the gym until a high school student succeeded in twisting the wires together again to illuminate the building.

Several men raised one end of the fallen balcony while others extricated the injured and administered first aid until the arrival of ambulances and police patrols. The injured were brought to hospitals here.

Among the injured are Mrs. S. A. LaMarr, wife of the superintendent of schools at Abingdon. Mrs. George Brenner, wife of the Abingdon principal, and the following from Knoxville, Mary Buckley, Bess Miller, Harlan Charles, James Campbell, Horace Ott, Tanel Welch, Clyde Woolsey, and Frances Godsill, students, and Mabel Woolsey, eighth grade teacher.

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Davenport, IA 9 Jan 1929

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Gym Balcony Falls, 30 Injured

Hall Crowded as Knox Co. High School Teams Began Game for Championship

Balcony of Former St. Albans School Had Just Been Rebuilt to Add to Seating Capacity for Knoxville High School

(By United Press)
Galesburg, Jan. 9.-Investigation was in progress Wednesday to determine responsibility for the collapse of a balcony in the Knoxville High School gymnasium Tuesday night during a basketball game. More than 30 persons were injured and 14 of the victims remained in Galesburg hospitals Wednesday.

Knoxville and Abingdon, traditional rivals had just started a game for the Knox county title. The gymnasium formerly used by St. Albans School, was packed. The balcony, recently built to add to the seating capacity, contained approximately 100 spectators and equal number stood beneath.

Plunged in Darkness

Suddenly there was a crash and one end of the balcony gave way, plunging those above to the floor and burying many of those beneath. In the fall, the switch control box on the wall scraped off and the building was plunged into darkness. Panic threatened as the screams of frightened women, the moans of the injured, and the shouts of men filled the structure.

Stops Confusion

Harold Philblad of Knoxville whose brother Harry was named by Gen. Pershing as one of the outstanding heroes of the ware, stilled the confusion by groping his way about until he effected temporary contact of the severed wires. Men managed to lift the fallen balcony and extricate the injured. Physicians gave first aid and ambulances and police patrols were summoned from Galesburg.

Injured

Among the most seriously injured who are still in Galesburg hospitals suffering from broken limbs, shock, and severe bruises are

Mrs. S. E. Lemarr, wife of the Abingdon superintendent of schools.
Mrs. George Brenner, wife of the Abingdon principal.
Mr. and Mrs. L. Y. Bird.
Mrs. Raymond Johnson, wife of the Abingdon coach.
Mary K. Brockley, Abingdon.
Bess Miller, Abingdon.
James Campbell, Abingdon.
Zanel Welch, Abingdon.
Gwendolyn Dahler, Abingdon.
Miss Mabel Woolsey, Knoxville, teacher.
Mrs. G. Hunter, Knoxville, teacher.
Harlan Charles, Knoxville.
Horace Ott, Knoxville.
Virginia Godsill, Knoxville.

Many of those taken to the hospitals were found to have sustained painful but not serious bruises, or cuts, and were transferred to their homes, while others were able to reach their homes after receiving first aid at the gymnasium.

Decatur Evening Herald, Decatur, IL 9 Jan 1929