Beckley, WV Six Are Hurt in Stand Fall at Memorial Building, November 1931


Speakers' Platform Collapses at Beckley Cornerstone Laying

Beckley, W.Va., November 15--Twenty persons were dropped 12 feet amid tumbling blocks of building stone, when a platform at the rear of the speakers' stand collapsed as the invocation was being read at the laying of the cornerstone of Raleigh County's new Memorial building today.

Injuries requiring treatment in a hospital were suffered by six, three of whom were kept in the hospital. They were the Rev. A.M. Perryman, pastor of the First Presbyterian church at Ronceverte, back injured; Mrs. R.P. Richardson, McAlpin, bruised and suffering from shock; and J.W. Price, Beckley, all kept in the hospital for treatment and a Dr. McClintic of Williamsburg, Greenbrier County; T.F. James, Beckley, and R.P. Richardson, McAlpin, discharged after treatment.

H.W. West, general foreman for the Mankin Lumber Co., of Oak Hill, constructing the building, said spectators had been warned to stay off the platform on which building supplies, including large blocks of stone, were piled. Richardson said he had been asked to mount the platform to clear the line of vision between a photographer and the speakers' stand. An investigation to ascertain the cause of the accident will be conducted tomorrow, members of the memorial building committee said.

The crowds gathered to witness the corner stone laying were quieted when speakers assured them no one was injured seriously and the program was carried out as scheduled with addresses by Jack Thornton, Sistersville, state commander of the American Legion and Dr. J.W. De Verbe, Ronceverte, grand master of the Masonic lodge in West Virginia.

From the (Huntington, WV) Herald-Dispatch, 16 November 1931.