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BigRedDog

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I've posted about this before in the 'neighbors' thread but it's time it had it's own thread.

Prior info:  http://monroetalks.com/forum/index.php?topic=30714.msg731544#msg731544

http://monroetalks.com/forum/index.php?topic=30714.msg744623#msg744623

We spent a few days over at Lake Hudson last week and made a slight detour (actually two of them) on the way home.  We went to the middle of nowhere to the actual site of the crash.  The roads aren't too great in 2018 so I can only imagine what they must have been like in 1901.  Even an emergency response must have taken several hours. 

Unfortunately there is no marker or memorial of any type at the actual location of the crash.  Maybe the property owner doesn't want a lot of traffic and for sure the road isn't wide enough much traffic. 

I wanted to take a photo of the scene but decided to do a 180 degree panorama to show the general location and to make sure I got the actual crash site in the photo. 

I was out taking pictures and a gentleman pulled down the road behind us in a Jeep.  I knew he had enough room to squeeze by but he stopped and got out.  I though he was maybe going to challenge me for taking pictures.  He was a neighbor and familiar with the crash.  He told me that they used the old midwest foursquare farmhouse at the right of the photo for an emergency hospital to treat the relatively few people that survived the crash. 

One day I'll take our son and a couple of his drones and we'll do some aerial photos and videos of the actual site.  At this point there is no way to reach it without trespassing on either farm property or the railroad itself.  I'd rather deal with a mad farmer than the Norfolk Southern Railroad Police!



The crash site is somewhere near the center of my photo along the railroad grade (obviously).

The 2nd detour involved heading back Northeast to Adrian to the Oakwood Cemetery which is where the burial site and memorial to those who died in the crash is located.  The cemetery is huge and the streets are not real wide.  We were hauling the camper and although I could have navigated ok I may have had to force someone off the road going the other way.  Plus we didn't know exactly where the memorial is so we headed on home.

We did stop and have our lunch at the old Wabash railroad terminal in Adrian. 

I'll post more on this again.  We're planning a trip to go take pictures of the memorial.

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BigRedDog

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Re: 1901 Wreck on the Wabash. Near Sand Creek over in Lenawee County.
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2018, 11:07:28 AM »

Here's a fund raising website for the monument that was installed at the cemetery in Adrian.  Hopefully it will stay online for a long time but I'm not 100% sure so I'm going to cut and paste a little more than I usually do.  Everything in this post is from their website just so proper credit applies to where it is due.

https://www.patronicity.com/project/italianamerican_train_wreck_memorial#!/

Headline from the Adrian paper.  The crash happened on Thanksgiving Eve around 6ish so it either didn't make the paper on Thanksgiving Day or they just didn't have a paper on Thanksgiving Thursday.



A picture of the crew working on part of the crash.  Notice they seem to have stopped to 'pose' for the photo.  That was very common back in the days of early cameras.  Any movement might cause it to look blurry or have a 'ghost' appearance if anyone moved.  Exposure time might have actually been several seconds depending on the level of light.  No such thing as 'point and shoot' cameras that did everything for you!

Obviously there was total devastation at the scene. 



The following is all cut and paste direct from the above website:

Quote
One of the Worst Train Wrecks in History
It was on the Eve of Thanksgiving, 1901.

Two trains -- one heading home and the other heading to a new life -- collided in one of the worst train wrecks in U.S. history.

Now, after 115 years, it’s time to remember those who perished.

But, we can only do it with your help.


The Story
The deadly collision has become known as the "Wreck on the Wabash."

At approximately 6:45pm on Thanksgiving Eve, November 27, 1901 - the No. 4 & No. 13 trains collided head on between Seneca & Sand Creek - near Adrian,Michigan.

The No. 4 was eastbound to Detroit carrying passengers home for the holiday.

The No. 13 was westbound carrying a group of 75 to 100 recent Italian immigrants to the mines in Colorado & California for work and a new life.

When the trains collided,the No. 4 exploded on impact. Fortunately, many lives were saved from fire by a quick thinking engineer, Aaron T. Strong.

When the No. 13 was hit, the wooden cars shattered caught fire when an overhead kerosene lamp fell. The fire and debris blocked the escape and trapped people inside. With temperatures reaching over 2,000 degrees, those trapped were cremated instantly.

Local residents rushed to the aid of the victims, but could only watch in horror as the flames consumed the wreckage. The fire was so hot and large that it could easily be seen that evening for up to five miles away.

And a little more:

Quote
After the accident,the ashes and remains of the dead were collected into five caskets and buried.Their exact whereabouts were lost for decades. That was until the recent discovery of old cemetery records showing that the forgotten lay at rest in Oakwood Cemetery in Adrian in unmarked graves. 

The Monument
For decades, the dead were forgotten. Now is the time to remember them and this tragedy.

Why were they forgotten?

According to newspaper reports, one reason is that the railroad company did its best to try to forget it - to move on by getting the trains back on the tracks as soon as possible.

Another reason is because of the backgrounds of the dead: these were new people to the country - marginalized immigrants.

It wasn't long ago that Italians were considered foreign and alien in Victorian era America. Their customs, religion, language, food, and way of life were different from what "polite society" was accustomed to seeing around them. This was a time before Italian culture became part of the mix in our great country.

Because of their status as "other," society at the time lost track of exactly where the final resting place of these new Americas were following this the deadly train wreck.

A photo of the monument and the artist:




Quote
Italian-American artist Serigo De Guisti has created a monument to honor the memory of those who died and help share this hidden history.

Sergio De Giusti’s work has been widely exhibited in both the United States and Europe in such places as The Detroit Institute of Arts; The Newark Museum; The Tampa Museum;The Smithsonian; The British Museum in London, England; The Minnesota Museum of Art; The Council of Cultural Affairs in Stockholm, Sweden; The Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, Hungary and at The Institute of Culture in Zacatecas, Mexico. He has produced bronze panels for the doors of The Church of San Vito in Maniago, Italy and designed official medallions for The Department of The Treasury in Washington DC. He is donating his original design, time and energy because he believes in the project. 

We would also like to thank Ken Thompson of Flatlanders of Blissfield, Michigan for assisting in creating the base for the sculpture.

Teach the History - Build Community


Quote
The City of Adrian,the Italian Consulate of Detroit, and other organizations are supporting this effort because this is compelling and important history in our own backyard.This is part of the American story - a tragedy, yes, but a story of how our families came here in search of a better life. The monument, to be placed in Oakwood Cemetery near the final resting place of the victims of this accident, will help illuminate this story to school children, the community, and those interested in history.

A special dedication will take place September 24th featuring the placement of the monument and honoring those who died.

You make it possible with your tax deductible gift to this community crowdfunding campaign. Please give today and tell others. Thank you! 


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BigRedDog

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Re: 1901 Wreck on the Wabash. Near Sand Creek over in Lenawee County.
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2018, 11:26:15 AM »

Here's a copy of the location based on a local plat map that I had originally posted in the Professor's original 'Neighbors' thread:



I still haven't figured out the precise collision point but I suspect it is a bit west of the bridge over Bear Creek

https://goo.gl/maps/YJxq9WPFBmR2

When we stopped to take pictures we were just at the creek crossing on Horton Road.
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BigRedDog

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Re: 1901 Wreck on the Wabash. Near Sand Creek over in Lenawee County.
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2018, 11:32:49 AM »

I got to digging on the train crash while we were camping at Lake Hudson.  We were camped literally on the shore of Bear Creek and I remembered it being near the site of the train crash. 



We were starting to see a bit of fall coloring in the trees but nothing very vivid yet.



I took the dog for a hike on one of the trails and was a bit surprised to find a dandelion greeting us!

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