Tuesday, June 20, 2017

On this Date in Minnesota History: June 20

June 20, 1902 – A horrible head to head collision occurred at Lower Lake siding, two miles west of Staples, on the Northern Pacific railway at 1:45 this morning, between passenger train No. 7, going west, and No. 8, going east.

Engineer Walter Scott, Fireman George Rasmussen, Conductor John Noble, Baggageman Mohler and an unknown man, supposed to have been stealing a ride, were killed outright, and Engineer Ernest Schultz, Fireman W. H. Montgomery, Express Messengers Gibson and Heidrich and Harry Zerglar of Hammond, Ind., are badly injured.

Northern Pacific Depot, Staples, Minn.1

Train No. 7, with engine 227, in charge of Engineer Scott, took the siding for No. 8, which had the right of way. No. 8 was in charge of Conductor Noble and Engineer Schultz, with engine 228, and came down at a high rate of speed, believing everything was clear, but instead their train ran on the siding on which No. 7 was standing, resulting in one of the worst wrecks ever seen by the passengers, all of whom escaped serious injury, except Zergler, who was in the smoking car on train No. 8, which was partially telescoped and thrown clear of the tracks. He received internal injuries that are thought to be serious, and was taken to the Brainerd Hospital.

The killed and injured were under the wreck, and it was difficult to find them. Fire started at 3:30, but was kept under control by a volunteer bucket brigade, formed by passengers, until 4:35, when the task was given up. Engineer Scott’s body had not been recovered at a late hour.

Conductor Noble lived in St. Paul and leaves a widow and two small children. Engineer Scott lived in Staples, where he had a wife and two children. Fireman Rasmussen also resided in Staples and leaves a widow. Express Messenger Mohler was married and lived in St. Paul.

Two baggage cars, one express car and two coaches of train No. 8 were completely burned and two baggage and express and a passenger car on No. 7 were practically demolished. The two engines were total wrecks.

Railway Mail Clerk McBride, who was also injured, was taken to the Brainerd Hospital.

The Minneapolis Journal
; “Fatal Wreck on Nor. Pac. Two Passenger Trains Meet on Siding Near Staples This Morning. Five Trainmen killed, Two Employes (sic) and One Passenger Hurt.”; June 20, 1920; p. 1.




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