Crash at Crush - West, Texas
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member txoilgas
N 31° 48.265 W 097° 05.527
14R E 680606 N 3520342
Quick Description: The collision, intended as publicity for the railroad, was planned and promoted for months in advance. The locomotives, Old No. 999 and Old No. 1001, were displayed prominently during tours throughout the state.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 10/18/2009 8:51:14 PM
Waymark Code: WM7FDK
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Sneakin Deacon
Views: 32

Long Description:
from the website. Read the rest of the story here (visit link)

It was a slow day at the office and George Crush, a passenger agent for the Katy railroad was thinking about train wrecks and how they never failed to draw a crowd. George knew that even the slightest collision would have people coming from far and near to see derailments, explosions and steam-scalded victims.

If accidents drew crowds of hundreds, how many would come to a deliberate, heavily publicized crash? Agent Crush bet the numbers would be in the thousands, but no one in Texas in the 1890s was stupid enough to take the bet. They knew better.

George ran the idea up the MKT flagpole and his superiors saluted it. The railroad laid a spur off their main tracks north of Waco in September of 1896. A four mile spur with a grandstand, press offices, a bandstand and a "depot" marked Crush, Texas.

The "Monster Crash" was advertised for months in advance and newspapers kept readers updated on preparations. Two obsolete engines were given a reprieve from the scrap furnaces and reconditioned to the point where they could build up a good head of steam. Painted in contrasting red and green, and pulling boxcars covered in advertising, the locomotives were like aged gladiators painted with cosmetics for one final battle where both would lose. They were displayed in various towns before the event and people all across Texas were hoping they would live long enough to witness the event.

The half-town, half-carnival that became Crush, Texas was set up with restaurants, game booths and "lemonade" stands. Some of the latter even sold real lemonade!

The railroad had offered two dollar round-trip tickets from anywhere in the state and the first of thirty-three excursion trains began arriving at dawn on September 15, 1896. Some of the trains arrived with passengers riding al fresco - on top of the cars. Approximately 40,000 men, women and children were given until late afternoon to spend their money and be subjected to the speeches of politicians, the warnings of prophets and the light fingers of pickpockets.

The few trees on the site had boys hanging in them like noisy fruit. Children sat on their father's shoulders and ladies were politely asked to remove their hats. At 5:00 p.m. the engines nosed toward each other and "shook hands" like prizefighters before backing into position.

Agent Crush, riding a borrowed white horse, threw down a white hat as a signal and got out of the way. The engines headed toward one another while the crowd roared their approval over the locomotive's death-whistles.
Website address: [Web Link]

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