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Julian C. Holmes

A Guide to the Julian C. Holmes Papers, 1968-2011 [bulk 1972-1977], on the Collapse of Skyline Towers, Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia
Call Number Mss3 Ar896 a FA2


Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions
There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation
Julian C. Holmes Papers, 1968-2011 (Mss1 H7367 a FA2), Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Va.

Acquisition Information
Gift of Audrey S. Marra, Wayne, Maine, 13 May 2013 (Acq. 2013.0010). Accessioned July 8, 2014.

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Virginia Historical Society.

Collection number: Mss1 H7367 a FA2

Title: Julian C. Holmes Papers, 1968-2011.

Size: 42 folders (2 linear feet).

Language: English

Abstract: Papers collected by Julian Clifford Holmes concerning the construction and collapse of Skyline Towers, Bailey’s Crossroads, Va., in March 1973 and allegations of government cover-up and corruption linked to the Charles E. Smith Construction Co. Included are copies of newspaper articles concerning the collapse, correspondence and reports documenting the efforts of Holmes and colleagues Marian K. Agnew and Arlyn E. Unzicker to present their evidence to Fairfax County, Virginia and U.S. government agencies, and background research on the inter-related issues of government collusion and corruption and violations of campaign finance laws.

Scope and Content Information

This collection documents the efforts of Julian C. Holmes, Marian K. Agnew and Arlyn E. Unzicker, self-described "citizen-activists," to keep the Skyline Towers collapse in the public eye, and to hold both government officials and the Charles E. Smith Co. accountable for the deaths of 14 construction workers. It contains extensive news coverage, copies of correspondence sent and received, testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Labor and the Watergate Special Prosecution Force (based on the claim that Charles E. Smith Co. was a major contributor to the Nixon Re-election campaign), and background research. As time passed, the frustration of Holmes et al can be seen in the expansion of their allegations of bribery, malfeasance on the part of U.S. Justice Department officials, and the involvement of the FBI, the CIA, and the U.S. Postal Service in the effort to suppress the truth about Skyline Towers.


This collection was arranged by Mr. Holmes in a rough chronological order, but with considerable duplication and overlap. An effort has been made to limit duplication, but as it reflects Mr. Holmes’ means of cross-referencing, and may be of assistance to researchers, some duplicates remain. Folder titles were provided by Mr. Holmes but have been expanded where necessary for clarification.

Biographical/Historical Information

On March 2, 1973, a portion of a 26-story apartment building under construction in Bailey’s Crossroads, Fairfax County, Virginia, collapsed, as did an adjacent garage. The accident resulted in the deaths of 14 construction workers and numerous injuries. The building, Skyline Plaza [also referred to as Skyline Towers], was owned by the Charles E. Smith Companies, with Charles E. Smith Construction serving as general contractor. The concrete subcontractor was Miller & Long Construction. Analysis of the accident by the Center for Building Technology of the National Bureau of Standards determined that improper removal of support forms beneath the recently poured concrete of the 23rd floor increased pressure on existing columns, causing a several to fail and triggering a progressive collapse until the structure reached ground level. A number of OSHA violations were also identified that contributed to the collapse. Ultimately, inspectors concluded that the true cause was a design flaw which failed to take into account the construction weight requirements of the structure. Julian C. Holmes, and his like-minded “citizen-activists” Marian K. Agnew and Arlyn E. Unzicker, began an investigation into the response of Fairfax County and Virginia state officials to the collapse. Dissatisfied with the response at these levels, they turned to federal officials, where they had mixed success. The three determined that there existed a pattern of behavior at all levels of government and on the part of the builder to suppress full disclosure and thus full prosecution of the collapse.

Index Terms

Agnew, Marian K.
Bailey's Crossroads (Va.).
Building failures - Investigation.
Charles E. Smith Companies.
Holmes, Julian clifford.
Political activists.
Political corruption - United States.
Political corruption - Virginia.
United States. Watergate Special Prosecution Force.
Unzicker, Arlyn E.

Contents List

Box 1:
1 Chronology I: 1968 June 6-1973 July 31
2 Chronology II, part 1: 1973 August 1-1974 June 26
3 Chronology II, part 2: 1974 September 5-1974 November 22
4 Chronology III: 1974 July 15-1993 February 25
5 Chronology IV: 1974 June 7-1975 November 6
6 Integration into Chronology
7 Globe Newspaper, Thursday, 1973 August 2
8 Request for Grand Jury Action, 1973 July 25
9 Request for Grand Jury Action, 1973 July 25. Citation I
10 Bailey’s Crossroads Coverup and the Law : Part of a presentation prepared for the federal Grand Jury and the Office of the Special Watergate Prosecutor, 1974 May
11 The Bailey’s Crossroads Coverup, Citations I and II
12 The Bailey’s Crossroads Coverup, Chronology, undated
13 A basis for indictments in the Bailey’s Crossroads Coverup, 1974 May
14 A basis for indictments, Grand Juries
15 A basis for indictments, Grand Jury materials, 1973 November 26-1973 December 14
16 A basis for indictments, 1974 May 4-1974 June 29
17 A basis for indictments, 1974 July 4-1974 July 31
18 A basis for indictments, 1974 August 1-1974 August 31
19 A basis for indictments, 1974 September 2-1974 October 5
20 A basis for indictments, 1974 October 5-1974 October 22
21 A basis for indictments, 1974 October 23-1974 December 5
22 A basis for indictments, 1975 January 6-1975 November 19
23 A basis for indictments, 1975 March 16-1976 February 22
24 A basis for indictments, 1975 June 9-1975 August 11
25 A basis for indictments, 1975 September 5-1975 December 4


Box 2:
26 House Select Subcommittee on Labor, Hearing before, 1974 September 19, on … Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Prepared statement, 1974 September 17
27 House Select Subcommittee on Labor, Hearing before, 1974 September 19, on … Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Testimony [contains testimony of James H. Frye, father of Michael James Frye, who died in the Skyline Towers collapse]
28 Leases, General Services Administration [contains information on leases, 1962-1974, to Charles E. Smith Company and associates]
29 Levi, Edward H., Nomination of for Attorney General. Hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, January 27, 28, and 29, 1975
30 Political Contributions, 1973 July 24-1974 December
31 Political Contributions, 1974 December 11-1975 March 24
32 Silbert, Earl J., Nomination for U.S. Attorney. Hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, April 23, 24, 30, and May 1, 1974. Parts 1 and 2; also May 20, 1975.
33 Skyline Towers miscellany (1 of 2 folders)
34 Skyline Towers miscellany (2 of 2 folders)
35 U.S. District Court, 1975 March 22-1975 May 29
36 Watergate Grand Jury, 1975 January 6-1975 October 9
37 Watergate Grand Jury, 1975 May 16-1975 July 23
38 Watergate Grand Jury, 1975 June 12, A basis for indictments in the Bailey’s Crossroads Coverup, 1974 May [contains only the pages that are different from the earlier version]
39 Watergate Grand Jury, Miscellany [includes testimony, correspondence, newspaper articles, obituaries of Milton Eisenbert and Dick Thornburgh]
40 Watergate / Bribes / Charles E. Smith, 1975 July 22-1975 October 10
41 Watergate / FBI / CIA, 1975 July 3-1975 July 23
42 Watergate / Post Office / Court Administration, 1975 September 16-1976 February 25

Processed by: Mark Lamb
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