Monday, August 12, 2013

"The Most Spectacular Wreck in Santa Clara Valley's History!"

"The most spectacular wreck in Santa Clara Valley's history"

One of the great problems of blogging is running out of things to talk about, for it cuts off subjects for future entries.

Yet today, I'll risk that by quoting the San Jose Evening News article on November 19, 1928, where they have pictures of the "most spectacular wreck in the Santa Clara Valley's history". Yep, after I post this, there's no point in talking about locomotives falling over in front of terrified passers-by on a major San Jose street, or frightening head-on collisions in the Campbell/Cambrian/Monte Sereno/Los Gatos metroplex, or crack passenger trains slamming into switch engines within walking distance of downtown, for I will have reported on "the most spectacular wreck in Santa Clara Valley's history."

And then I can start writing about the locations of In 'n Out burger locations in the Santa Clara Valley because I won't have anything to write about train wrecks, for you've read about the most spectacular train wreck in Santa Clara County's history already.


The November 19, 1928 San Jose Evening News filled half the front page with photos of most extreme of wrecks, where a bunch of railroad cars came off the tracks, tore up the track, then fell over. This happened out by Milpitas, and the photos show the urban setting and the great risk to nearby lives. The pictures also show the mess afterwards, and also show how one of the rails ended up getting embedded into the underframe of a car "furnishing a tough problem for the wrecking corps." There's not much else - nothing about the number of cars derailed (except that there must have been a lot, and the debris spectacular), nor about the amount of track destroyed (which was probably excessive and spectacular), or about the time needed to clear the wreck (which was probably excessive, costly, and spectacular.)

And... um... I guess that's it. Spectacular wreck, worst in history. Two photos, one at the top of this page, and one that you'll have to follow the link to see. If we had a professional historian handy, he may use his expert opinion to suggest that it was a "slow news day".

Also in the day's paper:

  • "2000 See Hoover Briefly as His Train Passes Through"
  • Real estate agent badly burned when his car rolls over in Willow Glen
  • Zita Johann "goes to the Electric Chair" every night on Broadway as part of a play about the Snyder-Gray murder case. "Her off-stage life has been wholly free of morbid reactions."
  • Campbell women burn mortgage on the Campbell Public Library in an old-fashioned mortgage-burning party (though strangely the paper shows them holding the burning note the day before the ceremony)
  • and "Absent-Minded Professor Falls to Death Down Elevator Shaft."
  • There's also a ton of radio ads just in case you're in the market for a six tube console unit for only $240.

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