Cleveland, OH Central Viaduct Collapse, Jan 1888



Cleveland, O., Jan. 6. -- Shortly before 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon, the new Central viaduct, over Central Way, gave way and fell to the ground over sixty feet below with a crash. The huge sleeper, which is used on top of the viaduct, went down with the wreck, burying fourteen workmen beneath the debris. The accident came without a second's warning, Suddenly the two spans over Central Way fell as if sawed off from the structure.
Two men were crushed to death instantly, and while their mutilated bodies could be seen, they could not be taken from the ruins, by reason of the vast weight piled on them. One of the spans was 150 feet, and the other thirty feet in length. From what can be learned from the working on the viacuct at the time of the accident, it is conjectured that the immense weight of the engine used in hoisting the larger and heavier materials into position, together with the weight of the spans, caused all that portion of the structure between the Valley railway tracks and Central Way to go down with a crash and without previous warning.
Assistance was at once on hand and the work of recovering the dead and wounded began. H. C. BURTON and another man named HARDY was taken out dead, while R. D. HAMLIN, CHARLES ORD, JOHN BORDEN and ALEX EMANELSON, more or less injured. BURTON lives at Hazelhurst, Miss.
The wounded were all taken to Huron street hospital, where an examination of their wounds were made. It is feared that all are fatally hurt. Several men were at work below the bridge, but all escaped.

LATER -- The cause of the accident as now explained. The "traveler" is a huge engine-like affair that runs along the top of the structure, and by it the iron work is carried out in advance of the cantilever plan. Just in front of the "traveler" is a smaller car, which holds water for the engine in the "traveler" and is also used by workmen as a took box.
The accident result from an oversight in permitting the water carrier to run too far out on the end of the wooden trestle work which is erected in advance of the iron work. The carrier ran over the end of the trestle and plunged down, carrying the wooden supports, and these in turn crashed against the yet insecure iron work, carrying down with it the next two spans.
HARDY, the first man taken from the wreck, was an awful sight. He was pinned beneath a mass of broken beams and iron, and when lifted up his head severed from the body and rolled into the gutter.

Newark Daily Advocate Ohio 1888-01-06


Same viaduct, different accident?

The other wreck, possibly on this viaduct, was a train carring people.
The signal light malfunctioned and the train went into the river killing the engineer and seveal passengers.