Also, Kemplog has a post about an upcoming documentary film 1:47 on the subject of the explosion in downtown Richmond at 1:47 p.m. April 6, 1968. Morrison-Reeves has posted page images of the book Death in a Sunny Street by Esther Kellner that documents the explosion. A gas leak coupled with the gun powder in the Marting Arms sporting goods store caused the blast. Vigran’s Department store and Holthouse Furniture were leveled. MacRaven recounts his near miss at being the 42nd person killed that day. Apparently the blast blew out my Dad’s office window (this was about 3 years before I was born). Luckily he’d taken a long lunch or something that day and was not at work. I asked my Dad (also a lawyer) about it a year or so ago. Mostly he just remembered who got the legal work that resulted.
Update: I edited the title to reflect what has become the main subject of the post. My Mom just e-mailed me with her recollections of that day, and I thought she gave a good description of what she had been doing:
I remember it well. It was a Saturday. Your dad and I had gone to Civic Theatre with Dick and Cathy Brantner the night before and then out for some beer. It was a beautiful warm Sat., the day before Palm Sunday. We had lived in Richmond for 8 days and your dad went into the office for a short time on Sat. morning and then came home for lunch. Since we had been out late the night before your dad, Cindy and I all took a nap. We were still unpacking and getting settled and had dinner at home still unaware of what had happened.
Bert Keller called around 9:30 that night and told us what had happened, we were stunned. I still can’t believe that we didn’t see smoke from the down town and didn’t hear the sirens, etc.
We did see the horrible result of the explosion the next day and lived with the reconstruction of the downtown as well as meeting many people whose lives were effected by this tragedy.
. . .
[T]he window in your dad’s office blew in and as I recall glass was on his desk where he had been sitting not too long before the explosion. He was fortunate that he came home when he did.
Seems to me that’s a big thing to have happen to a fairly small town.