Aaron Keirns is a native Ohioan with a lifelong interest in history. He holds a degree in Anthropology from The Ohio State University and has worked for many years as a writer, historian and college instructor. He is the author of several popular books on Ohio history, including America’s Forgotten Airship Disaster: The Crash of the USS Shenandoah. He has also written Black Hand Gorge, Statues on the Hill, and Honoring the Veterans of Licking County, Ohio.
The USS Shenandoah was America’s first rigid dirigible and the first in the world to be filled with non-flammable helium instead of explosive hydrogen. But it was ultimately the weather that took down the 682-foot-long giant. During the early morning hours of September 3, 1925, while passing over southeastern Ohio, the great airship encountered a violent thunderstorm. The storm’s winds ripped the ship apart, sending it crashing to the ground about 35 miles north of Marietta. Fourteen of the 43 crewmen on board were killed in the crash, including the captain, Commander Zachary Lansdowne.
The crash of the USS Shenandoah made headlines around the world. But as the years have passed, the tragic incident has all but faded from America’s collective memory. Mr. Keirns will present an illustrated lecture about the Shenandoah, which will include vintage photographs taken at the crash.