1901 : Horrible Train Wreck Near Adrian

November 27, 2020 all-day

On November 27, 1901, Thanksgiving Eve, one of the worst railroad disasters in Michigan history occurred about a mile north-east of the tiny village of Seneca in southern Lenawee County. The number of people who died in this head-on collision is still wrapped in controversy and mystery to this day. The official number of fatalities as reported by the Wabash Railroad still holds today at 23. However, most newspapers at the time, and reporters on scene, claim at least 80 passed away, and possibly closer to 100.

As news got out around the countryside, many local residents came to help in the recovery and care of those injured. Many of the homes became makeshift hospitals as they awaited for emergency medical care to come from down the line in Peru, Indiana, and doctors with staff from Adrian. Within 24 hours, many large newspapers had reporters on site, and the wreckage had drawn thousands of spectators.

Sources :

The Wreck On The Wabash-1901“, Geocaching.

Michael H. Hodges, “Adrian honors 100 Italians who died in 1901 catastrophe“, Detroit News, August 2, 2016.

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