The Doodlebug Disaster : Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio USA
N 41° 08.714 W 081° 28.408
17T E 460267 N 4554987
Quick Description: Originally inspired by three 7th graders while trying to complete a homework assignment. The Doodlebug Memorial Garden can be found at the intersection of Bailey Road and Front Street.
Location: Ohio, United States
Date Posted: 3/6/2009 6:07:14 PM
Waymark Code: WM5ZCF
The Doodlebug Memorial Garden features a 4-foot-wide, 6-foot-tall and 8-inch-thick granite memorial. Unveiled at a ceremony on the 65th anniversary of the July 31, 1940, railroad crash.
Three 7th grade students got the ball rolling on this. Sill School teacher Tracy Waehler her students to conceptualize a memorial based on a historical event or person. Joseph Gavjovski, Nathan Gera and Clarissa Melvin turned their project into a reality.
I have a book here in front of me, Images of America : Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Written by Marilyn & Scott Seguin. According to this book, the facts of the disaster are:
*On the early evening of July 31, 1940 a gasoline-powered single commuter rail car, the Doodlebug, collided with a 73 car freight train on tracks owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad. It was traveling between 40 and 55 mph at impact.
*43 people were killed, 9 instantly and 34 were burned to death when the gasoline aboard the commuter car, stored above the people, exploded after impact. This is known due to the final coroner's report.
*There were 3 survivors, the engineer and two of his crewman. They jumped from the train before impact.
Most of the passengers were from the Akron / Cuyahoga Falls area, returning from working in Cleveland for the day. The impact of the collision threw the passengers and seats into the front of the car. People and debris were piled on top of one another, making it impossible for anyone to attempt an escape from the inferno.
The final investigation revealed that the crew was given track orders that were wrongly worded and they were found to be not at fault.
The wreck is listed here: (visit link