Elgin, IL Grandstand Collapse, Aug 1911


Elgin, Ill., Aug. 26 -- THe death of a driver and his mechanician[sic] when their big racing car turned a somersault foing at eighty miles an hour and the injury of scores of spectators when a section of the grandstand collapsed, marked the second day of speed madness and record smashing at the great Elgin national road races to-day.
Crowd Wants Excitement.
One hundred thousand people treated death as a spectacular incident and the sport continued until the finish of the races, with LEN ZENGEL, driving a National car, winner of the Elgin national trophy and the thousands of dollars prize money. ZENGEL covered the 305 miles at an average speed of 66.45 miles an hour.
It was on one of the closing laps of the race that DAVE BUCK and his mechanican, SAM JACOBS, driving in the Pope-Hartford car, attempted to negotiate the northern turn at terrific speed, JACOBS swinging out like a lever to balance the machine.
BUCK struck a rut and the car threw a front tire. The huge machine dug its nose in the track and turned a complete somersault.
Both men were hurled through the air. JACOBS was killed almost instantly. BUCK was picked up with a broken hip and suffering internal injuries. He was rushed to St. Joseph's hospital, where he died three hours later.
The collapse of the grandstand occurred during the first lap of the race, shortly after the start of the races. As HARRY GRANT, leading the field, came down the home stretch, 1,500 spectators, rising as one man to cheer him on his way, were sent into a seething tangle of scrambling humanity as four sections of the grandstand went down like a row of dominoes.
Panic Seizezs[sic] Crowd.
Instantly a panic seizzed[sic] the crowd. The soldiers guarding the course were hurriedly ordered to the scene and by heroic efforts in calming the frightened throng probably averted the fall of the entire grandstand with its 7,000 people. Ambulances and automobiles were rushed to the stands with physicians and nurses. The race was stopped as the big cars tore by on their second lap.
Men, women and children were pulled out of the wreck, badly bruised and hysterical. Although many suffered fractured limbs or bad cuts no fatalities were reported. Among the injured was MRS. RALPH GRAHAM of Chicago, daughter of Seanator LORIMER. She was unconscious for an hour after the fall. Thirty minutes after the accident all of the injured had been removed from the broken stands and the crowd was howling for a continuation of the races.
A few minutes later the cars were again lined up for the start and sent away at half minute intervals. It was soon evident that the race was between ZENGEL in the National and MULFORD in his big Lozier. They made the first few laps almost hub to hub and the crowd went wild as they came over the hill down the stretch. MULFORD, however, dropped out of the race in the ninth lap because of a burned-out connecting rod bearing. WISHERT in a Simplex, AITKEN in a National and DePALMA in a Simplex went out early because of engine trouble.
At the finish GRANT in an Alco was second, six minutes nineteen seconds behind the winner; HUGHES in a Mercer eleven seconds behind GRANT, while LEE in an Alco, fourth, was four laps in the rear of HUGHES.

The Syracuse Herald New York 1911-08-27