June 3

Orly Airport Crash

June 3, 1962 - Atlanta

On this date in 1962, 113 Georgians died at Orly Airport in Paris. It was the worst single airplane crash of that time—and it led to one of Atlanta’s cultural landmarks.

The Air France jetliner crash killed 130 people—including 103 members of the Atlanta Art Association. Only the mid-air collision of two planes over New York in 1960 had taken more lives.

The city’s leading arts patrons were coming home after a month-long tour of some of Europe’s best art galleries, including the Louvre in Paris. Atlanta mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. saw the group off in early May and now flew to Paris to help identify the victims and to bring their bodies back home. He attended the memorial service at the American Cathedral in Paris two days later.

The Robert W. Woodruff Memorial Arts Center is a living memorial to the victims of the tragic airplane crash on June 3, 1962, Today in Georgia History.