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Bridge Wreck: 1925

Bridge Wreck: 1925

June 17, 1925. "Klingle Ford Bridge wreck" in Washington, D.C., just off (and under) Connecticut Avenue. 4x5 glass negative, National Photo Company Collection. View full size. Who can identify the car?


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Klingle Bridge Plunge

Washington Post, June 17, 1925

2 Killed, 2 Injured in Plunge of Auto from High Bridge

Henry A. Thayer, chief of the supply division of the U.S. veterans' bureau, and his daughter Mrs. Lois Virginia Macias, were killed last night when the sedan automobile which he was driving ripped through the guard railing of the Klingle bridge on Connecticut avenue, plunging 75 feet to a creek below.

Thayer's son-in-law, Joseph A. Macias, a clerk at the veterans' bureau, and his 2-year-old granddaughter were injured, Mr. Macias critically and the baby slightly.
Early last evening Mr. Thayer started with the family for a ride about the city and suburbs. They were returning to the city and reached the Klingle bridge about 10 o'clock. The front wheels of the auto were seen to wobble and before the car could be stopped it swerved across the roadway, struck another car, and caromed off the bridge into space. As the auto somersaulted 75 feet to the highway below, passersby heard the shrill screams of the baby, which were lost in the terrifying crash of the auto.
Passing at the time of the accident were Max Hay and William Washington, colored. They ran to the wreckage of the car and endeavored to free its occupants. Other passersby ran to telephone and summon aid. Truck company No. 9 was dispatched to the scene and ambulances from Emergency hospital soon arrived.
The Klingle bridge is a wooden one and is a short distance from the entrance to the Zoo. This section of highway is highly traveled, and news of the accident spread rapidly, bringing scores of autos and pedestrians to the scene. Police reserves from several precincts were necessary to maintain order.

Witnesses expressed the opinion that the steering knuckle of the auto broke, rendering it beyond Mr. Thayer's control. It was said that the machine was traveling at a moderate speed, but that the narrowness of the span did not give Mr. Thayer sufficient space in which to stop his car before it crashed through the railing.

Mr. Thayer formerly was an officer in the U.S. navy, serving through the world war with the rank of commander. He was 50 years old and retired from service a few years ago. He lived at 113 W street northwest an Mr. and Mrs. Macias and their daughter made their home with him. Mr. Macias is 24 years old and Mrs. Macias was 28 years old.

It's a Nash

That badge on the radiator shell is a dead giveaway, the other posters are in the right age range too. They built cars a bit differently back then, that lovely steel bumper is bolted directly to the frame and by the looks of it the driver smacked something solid at speed, the dents in the drivers-side cowl and rear quarter make me think it rolled on the way to where it was photographed, bodywork in those days was wood framed and nowhere near as sturdy as we're used to today.

Shorpy's Triumph

THIS is why Shorpy is such a great site - Thanks, Ross and Brent, for the background on the Klingle Road compound. Thanks to Shorpy (and Dave) for one year of amazing photographs and intersting discussion. Congratulations on your first anniversary!

Since discovering Shorpy my work productivity has diminished - but my workdays have been enriched ... bravo!

Goober Pea


I agree with the 1924 Nash 625. How did it get so wrecked though?

[The bridge is 75 feet up. - Dave]

Bell's Summer Home

Actually Alexander Graham Bell spent most of his summers at his estate on Cape Breton Island, Beinn Bhreagh near Baddeck Nova Scotia. In fact he spent most of the last thirty years of his life at Baddeck where he maintained a laboratory complex which was responsible (among other things) for the first aircraft flight in the British Empire (in 1909).

Totally off topic, but related to Google Maps, to the south south west of Twin Oaks is the US Naval Observatory, which is the home of the Vice President. The image of the circular Observatory grounds is pixelated. The Google Maps image of the White House is clear and undistorted in all details.

Summer home of Alexander Graham Bell?

I'm pretty sure that's Twin Oaks, the current Taiwanese Embassy, although if you really zoom in on it you can see Crew boats and fields that make it look more like a school, but the map looks like it has to be Twin Oaks. Here's the scoop from Wiki: Gardiner Greene Hubbard, first president of the National Geographic Society, built the colonial Georgian revival Twin Oaks on 50 acres (200,000 m²) in 1888. It was used as a summer home by the Hubbard family, including Alexander Graham Bell and is today home of the diplomatic mission of the Republic of China on Taiwan.

Klingle Ford Bridge

The Klingle Ford Bridge is a couple of blocks northwest of the National Zoo, where Connecticut Avenue crosses Klingle Road. Looks to be a pretty swanky compound just west of the bridge - wonder who lived there in 1925, if extant, that is.

Goober Pea

1924 Nash 625

Great photo. I think it's a '24 Nash 625. Check this link (it even has the same sill [scuff?] plate):


Those style wheels were also present in the '24 model year:



Gender stuff

Ever notice that in group photos like this from this era, you pretty much only see men? I finally saw one recently of a baseball stadium crowd that had a couple of women in the sea of men. Makes me wonder if all these guys' wives and girlfriends and sisters wanted to see the car wreck too, but they had to stay home because it wasn't ladylike.

David's right...

It looks like a 1925 Nash to me as well.
Here's a pic
of a '25 roadster.

Looks like a Dodge

It has some of the hallmarks of a '24 or '25 Dodge Brothers, but more precise than that is above my pay grade.

Nash Six?

Photos here and here.


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