The authors have taken pains to provide information and photos for each listing, accounts being taken from newspapers and official ICC Reports [Interstate Commerce Commission]. Included are hand-drawn diagrams outlining the scene of each accident and plenty of photos, most of which are "real photo" postcards. There are three useful indexes, organized by name of the railroad, date of incident, and geographic location.
Southwest Michigan communities represented in the book include:
- Bangor (1910 & 1912)
- Breedsville (1909)
- Comstock (1912)
- Dowagiac (1929)
- Harbor Beach (1912 & 1915)
- Kalamazoo (1909, 1913, 1915, 1924, 1939)
- McDonald (1923)
- New Richmond (1908)
- St. Joseph (1910)
- Schoolcraft (1920)
- Vicksburg (1910)
- Wayland (1926)
photograph collection, there are several images of other wrecks in the area, including this one in Lawton in the 1910's. The VBRGS publication Van Buren County, Michigan : a pictorial history includes two more, one in Lawrence in 1911 and the other near Hartford that same year.
Also, these wrecks are focused on massive destruction of the train, not about loss of life as my grandfather's cousin was literally cut in half while working at the Botsford Yards in Kalamazoo in 1915 when two railroad cars collided, but that isn't mentioned.
I learned something new from this book that might be helpful to those that wish to research these and other train-related accidents. Apparently, the ICC conducted investigations and reports were written, so be sure to add this resource to your railroad research checklist. Michigan Rail Disasters may be checked out to any card-holding VBDL patron, or you may request a copy through your local library.
Nameless Picture of the Day
Unknown GAR Veteran
Photographer - Shaefer, Paw Paw
Can you identify the subjects in this photo? Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog. Please include the five character catalog number with your e-mail.