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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Accident: 1906

The Accident: 1906

November 12, 1906. "Accident at Michigan Central R.R. depot, Detroit." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


This time exposure does a very good job of capturing the snow as it falls. Almost like watching a movie.

Very Haunting

I live very close to a R.R. line and have had nightmares of a big black, deep rumbling diesel train plowing through my house late at night!

Doomed Depot

This depot burned again, and completely, in 1913:

It was then replaced by a grand terminal/office tower, now an infamous abandoned ruin in the slums of Detroit:

Disturbingly beautiful.

I love the single focused figure among all the ghosts.

Executive Summary

        Detroit, Nov 12 -- A switch engine ran wild in the Michigan Central yards this morning. Before it could be stopped it crashed into the waiting room of the Third street depot, demolishing a large section of the building and burying a number of employes in the debris. George B. Booth was taken out dead. Others are seriously, perhaps fatally injured. The engine was completely buried in the falling debris.

Bad Day to Report to Work Early

Sault Sainte Marie Evening News, Monday, Nov. 12, 1906


Depot Smashed

Michigan Central Locomotive Ran Away Today;
Fatal Accident at Third Street in Detroit;
Men Buried Under Big Pile of Wreckage.

George R. Booth Killed While at Work in Parcel Room --
Fire Broke Out but was Soon Checked.

Reported killed: George Booth, the parcel agent; Reported injured: Donald Thomson and Earl McFuen of the Pullman company, and Bert Haner, Michigan Central conductor.

        Detroit, Mich. Nov. 12. -- One man was killed and a number of others injured, three of them badly, today when a Michigan Central railroad freight train ran away and crashed into the Third street depot, tearing down a large section of the structure. ... The engine was switching in the yards about a mile from the station about 7 o'clock when it is said the crew saw the passenger train approaching behind them, thought a collision was about to occur and jumped. The engine was running at a good speed and unchecked dashed over a mile to the station, flew into the train shed at a terrific pace and hit a bumper erected at the end of the track. The huge steel pile was torn out by the roots and the engine jumped across the platform and hit the west wall of the station near the parcel room. A section 25 feet wide was crushed in and the second and third floors over this part of the depot caved in.

        Conductor Haner came down to the station early this morning and was working on his reports when the accident happened ... Suddenly he found himself being carried down rapidly in a heap of wreckage and when the descent stopped he was pinioned in all sides, with escaping steam hissing about him and the hot boiler of the engine underneath him. He was so tightly held by the debris that he could not call for help. His face was next to the boiler while his hands were under his abdomen. It took 20 minutes of frantic digging to extricate him, after a piece of paper had attracted the attention of the rescuers to the fact that a man was buried there.

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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