1896 Train Wreck - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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1896 Train Wreck

1896 Montgomery County Storm - Train Wreck

Thanks so very much to Jerry Turner for this one :)

Source: Crawfordsville Journal 29 July 1896

July 28, 1896 was a tragic day in the history of Montgomery County. A severe thunderstorm roared through the county that night and reports state that the storm lasted for over two hours. The streets had six inches of water running down them, several barns were struck by lightning and burned, the natural gas line from Darlington was ruptured by raging Walnut Creek and shut down so Crawfordsville had no gas for cooking the next morning. Light company wires were down so the electricity was turned off and the town was dark, of course most people still had the kerosene lamps since electricity was relatively new. It was thought that the Sperry Mill Covered Bridge was going to be washed away too but it survived. Four boys camping south of Darlington along Sugar Creek woke up at 4 am to find their tents in the creek and they swiftly swam to shore. Down at Deer's Mill the Kingfisher and Hemlock Lodges lost all their boats. Other tales of escape from the flash flooding were numerous. The most tragic event occurred just north east of the city at the Vandaila Railroads bridge over Walnut Creek. A Locomotive and tender with five men were checking the tracks for damage and traveling along at 20 mph heading for Darlington. As they were crossing the bridge they noticed the center had bulged out but there was nothing they could do and the locomotive left the tracks and plunged through the bridge to the raging waters below. Three of the men died in the wreck and the picture is of the wreck the next day. If not for an alert man on the north bank four other men could have died that night too. A handcar with four men were coming down from Darlington and had no idea the bridge was out but the alert man jumped up on the tracks with his lantern and the men braked the car hard stopping in the nick of time. A terrible night in the history of the county.

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