Sunday, July 29, 2018

On This Date in Minnesota History: July 29

July 29, 1904 – Because he was too strong to work, Walter Orr, for years a professional “strong man,” pulled an inch rope apart while hoisting ice into a refrigerator car at Minnehaha Falls today. He sustained a fall that would have been fatal to a man of ordinary physique. Because he was too strong to be killed, Orr was taken to the City Hospital but refused to remain there and this morning is at home, bruised but still in the ring.

Ice Blocks1

“The iron jawed, steel muscled and leather-skinned man” is the title given Orr by his press agent in his long professional career. Not many weeks ago he was one of the star attractions at a local dime museum and astonished all visitors by cheerfully sticking needles through his flesh, breaking iron bars over his jaw, and lifting mammoth weights with arms and teeth.

Strong Man

Tired of this method of earning a living, Orr decided to try manual labor and was hired to handle ice by Charles Patten at Minnehaha Falls.

Up to today the strong man met with success in his new field. He was quick, willing and his strength made him invaluable to his employer.

Today in loading a refrigerator car with 300-pound cakes of ice, Orr came to grief. He was standing in the doorway of the car hoisting an especially heavy cake. Being in a hurry, he carelessly gave the rope more of a tug. There was a snap, the inch rope severed, and the man with the pull started precipitately for the railroad track. He landed on a tie and the ice followed him. As a result he was picked up unconscious.

Patten came to Minneapolis the following morning to buy a 2-inch rope in order to ready for Orr when he has recovered enough to resume work.


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