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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

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From our archives, 100 years ago

A steam locomotive exploded – literally blew its stack – on a passenger train bound for Walla Walla.

The paper reported that the smokestack was blown into the air and landed in a field 400 feet away. The engineer and fireman were knocked out of the locomotive and onto the ground. To everyone’s surprise – especially their own – they were uninjured.

The force of the explosion went forward, which probably saved their lives. Windows “some distance” from the train were shattered.

One passenger, Mrs. J.D. Sheets, was bruised when she was thrown against a seat, but nobody else was hurt.

The general agent of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Co. said that “such things happen at times, and no one knows why.”

Water music: Eight pianos floated out of a Pullman music store and on through this flood-ravaged city. Three were found in town, soaked and ruined, but one piano bobbed its way six miles to Albion.

Also on this date

1702: England’s Queen Anne acceded to the throne upon the death of King William III. … 1960: Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon were the victors of the New Hampshire presidential primaries. … 1965: The United States landed its first combat troops in South Vietnam as 3,500 Marines were brought in to defend the U.S. air base at Da Nang.