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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

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From our archives, 100 years ago

Two locomotives smashed into each other in a head-on collision on the railroad trestle over Hangman Creek, at about Cannon Street and Seventh Avenue.

Two men died and about 30 were injured. The two locomotives were “telescoped” by the impact and one car plunged 25 feet off the trestle. Physicians and surgeons rushed to the scene, where they treated people in makeshift clinics set up in nearby homes. The wounded were then taken to Sacred Heart Hospital in “every available ambulance and taxicab.”

The Spokesman-Review reported that one rail car was occupied by a “party of Italian laborers” and the “scenes of terror were indescribable.” Men were lying crushed and bleeding, covered by “falling timbers and flying glass.”

The cause of the accident was hard to pin down. One conductor insisted that the “block” – the signal light – was green for his train. Some passengers speculated that “color blindness” was responsible.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1790: The U.S. patent law is approved. … 1849: Walter Hunt, of New York, patents the safety pin. … 1912: The luxury liner Titanic sets sail from Southampton, England, on its ill-fated maiden voyage. … 1945: U.S. troops liberate a Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, Germany.

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