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 Viola Catherine Wheeler

Viola Catherine Wheeler

Birth
District Of Columbia, USA
Death 12 Jan 1940 (aged 44–45)
District Of Columbia, USA
Burial Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
Plot Sec 18 Lot 250 NE
Memorial ID 80907426 · View Source
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She was working as a switchboard operator on duty in the District Building the night of the Knickerbocker theater disaster back in Jan.,1922. She was first hired at the Fire Board (DCFD), and was later assigned to the D.C. city govt. operations (Washington, D.C.). Back then, there were less than 40,000 phones in service (in the city) but each call had to be routed manually via a switchboard when it was placed. Her efforts most likely required her to work very closely with the local telephone company who themselves had 3 workers also working as a defacto emergency operations center the night of the snowstorm. The storm caused the roof of the theater to collapse, trapping many inside and killing some. All of operators received notice in the press for their efforts, one of whom was Ruth Cooke who was given a special award. No word if Viola got anything for her efforts. She left a sister and a niece.

Ruth Cooke

Note: Find A Grave contributor Don Quixote located her gravesite (which is unmarked) with the help of the office at the cemetery.


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  • Created by: Fred Sanford
  • Added: 23 Nov 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 80907426
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Viola Catherine Wheeler (1895–12 Jan 1940), Find A Grave Memorial no. 80907426, citing Mount Olivet Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA ; Maintained by Fred Sanford (contributor 46577478) .