LHS Free Lecture Series: “The Great Lovettsville Plane Crash of 1940” (2016)

WATCH THE VIDEO “The Plane Crash by John P. Flannery” at https://vimeo.com/191335903 .

See our archive of documents and photographs at 1940 Pennsylvania-Central Airlines Trip 19 Disaster Archive



What: Lovettsville Historical Society Lecture: “THE GREAT LOVETTSVILLE PLANE CRASH”

When: Sunday, November 13, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.
Where: St. James United Church of Christ, 10 East Broad Way, Lovettsville

For further information, contact:
Edward Spannaus 540-822-9194, or 703-727-9758

On Sunday, November 13, the Lovettsville Historical Society will feature a multi-media presentation about the 1940 plane crash near Lovettsville – an event that still lives in the memories of old-time residents.

“We are re-visiting a national disaster that happened near Lovettsville on August 31, 1940, when Captain Lowell V. Scroggins lost control of his Douglas DC-3A, headed for Detroit, and his plane crashed killing all aboard,” said Edward Spannaus of the Lovettsville Historical Society. “John P. Flannery, a correspondent for the Brunswick Citizen, investigated this crash last year, some 75 years after that fateful day,and he is going tell us what he found.”

“We found a few who actually remembered the storm and crash,” Mr. Flannery said, “and they gave some color to this tragic event. In all, there were 21 passengers and a crew of four on Trip 19. We visited the site of the crash near Mountain Road. We tried to get a sense of the approach from a drone we flew over the area. There was some political intrigue about the crash because a controversial U.S. Senator, Ernest Ludeen, was one of the passengers who died in the crash and some have, and still do, wonder if the crash was intended for the Senator, labeled a Nazi sympathizer, and thus the crash was not accidental at all.”

“Since I wrote the article for the Citizen, other eye witnesses, quite young at the time, came forth,” Mr. Flannery added. “We have also found information about other plane crashes and a possible explanation for these crashes that contradict the conspiracy theories about the crash.”

Mr. Spannaus pointed out that, “We have received some additional artifacts about this flight at the Lovettsville Museum, since John wrote his article last year, including a number of original news service photos. ”

“What we didn’t know,” said Mr. Spannaus, “is that John almost became an aeronautical engineer instead of a prosecutor and trial lawyer. He has undergraduate degrees in Physic and Engineering from Fordham and Columbia, a law degree from Columbia and a Masters in Information Science from GWU. One out of this world fact about John’s interest in aeronautical excursions, was that he represented astronauts who went to the moon in a dispute about what the astronauts were allowed to retain from their space exploration.”

“I found the crash fascinating,” said Mr. Flannery, “for how it affected the observers who heard the storm, and the plane going down, and how the storm conditions baffled an experienced flight crew.”

The program will be held at St. James United Church of Christ, 10 East Broad Way, Lovettsville, Va., at 2:00 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome to defray expenses of the program.

LIFE Magazine issue dated 1940-09-16, was donated to the Lovettsville Historical Society by Judy Virts-Beard Fox