Thursday, March 23, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: March 23

March 23, 1910 – Seven persons were injured, several of them seriously, when the westbound Northwestern train, No. 23, ran into an open switch in the Kasota yards and collided with a string of loaded freight cars.

The accident occurred at 12:29 today. The absence of fatalities is attributed to the fact that the train was a light one consisting of only two coaches.

Entering the Kasota yards, the passenger was running about 30 miles an hour and a cloud of dust carried along by the high wind partially obscured the track, concealing the open switch.

Kasota Depot1 

Engineer John Moore of the passenger train did not see the danger until he was a train-length away and it was too late to prevent the collision. He remained at his post and escaped with a slight injury to one of his feet.

The “skidoo” number* figured conspicuously in the accident. It was the number of the train. The collision occurred on March 23, and there were 23 people on the train.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “7 Injured as Passenger Hits Freight in Kasota. Engineer Sees Open Switch When Too Late to Prevent Collision in Yards. Train 23. With 23 Persons on Board, in Accident on 23rd of Month.”; March 24, 1910; p. 2.


*"23 skidoo," first attested in 1906, combines two earlier expressions, "twenty-three" (1899) and "skidoo" (1901), both of which, independently and separately, referred to leaving, being kicked out, or the end of something. "23 skidoo" quickly became a popular catch-phrase after its first appearance in early 1906


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