Red Men Trip Ends in Disaster

The Atlantic City of the 19th century owed its existence to the railroads. As the century ended, tens of thousands of riders created the journey” by rail every weekend to what was known as the “world’s playground.” Just one of the causes for the popularity was the velocity that permitted people to arrive from close by towns.
The Philadelphia Record in 1896 noted, “Railroad adult men say that the swiftest scheduled coach in the planet is the four o’clock flyer on the Atlantic Metropolis Railroad, which is expected to daily traverse the 55.5 miles among Camden and Atlantic City in 60 minutes. This would give an ordinary price of a small considerably less than a mile a minute, but in between the West Jersey crossing in Camden and Pleasantville, on the meadows in close proximity to Atlantic (Town) the coach is scheduled to make a good deal speedier time than that. … There are commonly 8 autos, 4 coaches and 4 Pullmans, on this practice in the course of the summer time period, and the motor that hauls them is a person of the finest at any time turned out from the Baldwin Locomotive Works.”
All through this interval in The united states, there was a rise in fraternal corporations like today’s Elks or Moose. A single of the most well-liked in South Jersey was named the Improved Purchase of Pink Men. Founded in 1834, it claimed a patriotic lineage to American colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians who dumped tea into Boston Harbor to protest Britain’s tax on tea. It was arranged alongside the traces of glamorized Indian tradition, but it nonetheless reflected the mores of the day.
“No man or woman shall be entitled to adoption into the Buy other than a totally free white male of very good moral character and standing, of the whole age of twenty-just one great suns, who thinks in the existence of a Excellent Spirit, the Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and is possessed of some regarded highly regarded usually means of help.”
In accordance to Wikipedia, there was a benevolent, philanthropic element to the corporation.
“In one 1886 tribe, a member’s 12 cent a week dues went into a fund which was utilised to pay back incapacity advantages to users at a level of about ‘three fathoms for each 7 suns’ ($3/ week) for up to ‘six moons’ (six months) and then two bucks a 7 days. Some health-related care (“a ideal nurse”) was accessible, and also a death advantage of one hundred bucks. The fund was invested in bonds, home loans and ‘Building Association Inventory.’ Conferences ended up held weekly on Friday nights.”
The railroads serving Atlantic Metropolis took gain of these movements and booked “special tour trains” that would be filled with the good friends and families of the customers of a individual firm.
There was just one difficulty, like today’s visitors jams entering Extended Seaside Island in the summer months. Atlantic Town was located on an island, and the two significant tracks foremost to the metropolis crossed each and every other on the meadows just west of the bridge. Due to the fact the tracks ended up owned by competing railroads, some type of neutral targeted traffic cop was required at this spot.
The Asbury Park Push defined “… a bugaboo to travelers in between this town and Atlantic City. It is situated about 2½ miles from the Atlantic Metropolis terminals of the two rival railroads, and a block tower, occupied by an operator, is placed as shut to the crossing as safety will allow. This tower is occupied by an operator, who is charged with the duty of looking at that the teach having the appropriate of way crosses initially and that the other teach is flagged.”
Alan Siegel, in his guide Disaster set the scene on one particular fateful day.
“It was 6:30 on the evening of Thursday, July 30, 1896, when some 250 fatigued associates of the Improved Purchase of Purple Gentlemen boarded their distinctive tour coach at Atlantic City’s railroad depot for the return journey to Bridgeton. The day experienced been delightful: the resort’s famed boardwalk, crowded with amusement rides and vaudeville shows, taffy parlors and beer gardens, provided amusement for the total household. Stalls the place Kewpie dolls and racy postcards were bought and Gypsy fortunetellers who gladly parted visitor from his hard cash crammed the numberless arcades. The beach front sparkled in the warm sunshine the surf welcomed those people daring more than enough to drop their inhibitions. For Bridgeton’s Purple Men and their family members, the train journey household would be a time to rest, pour the sand out of their sneakers, and relive the pleasure of the working day.”
The Asbury Park Press claimed from Camden on a statement supplied by John Greiner, the engineer of the educate returning to Bridgeton.
“My coach still left Atlantic City at 6:46 o’clock. It was about two minutes afterwards when we arrived at the drawbridge. Just as we have been leaving the drawbridge, I seemed out of 1 of the taxi windows and saw the Studying convey flying shoreward. It was then probably two miles away. … I looked up at the tower and noticed that I had a clear keep track of. … As the categorical came thundering down the crossing, I saw that a collision was unavoidable.”
Sad to say, the specific prepare did not slow down.
“The motor of the specific struck the excursion train about the middle of the second mentor. … Four of the cars and trucks still left the track. It was in the second coach from the motor that most of the folks were killed. They ended up basically ground to demise in their seats. … The engineer of the express was actually smashed to items. When the crash came, my engine was severed from the rest of the practice, and the locomotive ran down the track for several hundred toes just before it was introduced to a standstill.”
Charles C. Rinick was on the educate returning to Bridgeton.
“When we saw that a collision was unavoidable the scene in our vehicle was terrific. Girls fainted and adult men rushed in mad worry for the door, but it came practically just before we had time to imagine. 1 automobile was reduce suitable in two, and the other portion of it remaining the observe and tumbled above. Every single auto was crowded, and it is awful to think of the figures who need to be lying beneath these ruins. The roof of just one of the cars and trucks is a mass, and every person in that car or truck was buried under it. It simply just dropped on top rated of the people today. I know positively of two in our vehicle who were being killed. They were being Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bell of Bridgeton. Their daughter was in one more vehicle even more back. … I assume there have to have been entirely eighty killed. The only human being with me was my six calendar year previous son, and he was not damage, thank God.”
Julius Rate, a passenger on the express from Philadelphia, instructed his story.
“As we arrived to the tower … the train arrived to a halt with a critical jolt. The shock was so pronounced that swayed us all forward then again, and then forward yet again. None of us in the smoker was damage I doubt no matter if any had been even bruised. Several of us hastened to the ahead vehicle of these overturned. By the time we attained it all those of the travellers whom the collision had still left able to totally free them selves had been scrambling out of the home windows. We helped as a lot of as wanted it, and then created our way into the vehicle. 50 % a dozen people were lying about within amid the wreckage of seats. It was below that we thoroughly understood the horror of the accident. The to start with female we took out had her leg slice off concerning the knee and the ankle. A guy we took out afterward evidently experienced his back again broken. We bought out as several as we could, but the cars were being so smashed that it was unachievable to get rid of all by the doors. We established to operate digging absent parts of the shattered roof of the 2nd car or truck and carried out a range by the opening.”
The Washington Post claimed from the scene on July 31, saying, “One lady whose entire body was recovered however held in her useless hand a plate bearing a image of Atlantic City. It was around the wreck were quite a few items of clothes, which experienced been torn from the bodies of the victims, hats, dainty parasols, fans, and gloves. … Just as a person of the relief trains attained the Pennsylvania depot with its horrible load, one particular guy, who lay in a corner horribly hurt, regained his senses for a minute, and, clasping his hand to his head, cried in heartrending agony: ‘who did this? My God, exactly where are my spouse and children?’”
The Publish mentioned the devastation would be concentrated on one particular small city.
“The wildest exhilaration prevailed right here when the information of the accident to the Bridgeton tour teach was been given. It is approximated there have been 5 hundred individuals on that teach from this city and the bordering country, and the uncertainty as to who escaped loss of life or damage made the pleasure general.”
In excess of the future quite a few times, Bridgeton citizens would mourn and frequently request the concern “Why us?”
Up coming Week: Putting blame.

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