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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Survivor: 1936

Survivor: 1936

November 1936. "Automobile accident on U.S. 40 between Hagerstown and Cumberland, Maryland." Crash Reconstruction, Part 3, and the last shot in this mini-series snapped by Arthur Rothstein. View full size.

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No windows

Note the absence of glass in the side openings, just snap-in "side curtains."

In those days, "station wagons" were just that, commercial vehicles sold for carrying passengers and their luggage between hotel and railroad station. The wooden bodies were heavy and expensive to maintain. Most station wagons had heavy-duty, no-frills upholstery and few of the amenities common in cars sold for personal use.

Rare Ambulance

The "ambulance" is a 1936 Plymouth wagon. Only 309 produced. Very few, if any, survive. Much, much rarer than the '36 Fords involved in the accident (about 20,000 Standard tudors produced, and about 30,000 DeLuxe 5-window coupes made in '36).

Let's just chuck her in the back of my station wagon Joe.

No Paramedics, no Gurney, No Ambulance a.k.a. the good old days.
At least it didn't cost much.

Rattle-Proof Seats!

The station wagon is a 1936 Plymouth Westchester.

Just when you thought technology had advanced as far as possible, Plymouth came through with the breakthrough of the century! Only in the 1936 Plymouth Westchester could you possibly obtain an innovation like "Rattle-proof seats!" I wonder why Cadillac or Rolls-Royce didn't come up with this astounding miracle.

This has to be one of the very few Plymouth Westchesters that is equipped with curtains instead of glass. The ad below clearly states that curtains were available instead of glass. It seems odd that an enclosed car would have this option, but perhaps the feature allowed odd-sized cargo and other specialty uses. Not the best feature for wintertime though.

A reconstruction?

Makes me wonder if this was just an opportune moment for a photographer or a truly major crash with fatalities. Why would they reenact if it weren't the latter?

["Reconstruction" refers to the photos being published here in the order the depicted events occurred. - tterrace]

Ah, my bad. Thanks.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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