Philadelphia, PA Trolley Wreck, Mar 1908


Women, Unable to Get Inside, Jammed on Front Platform


Jammed together on the front platform of a south-bound Elmwood avenue car and unable to force their way into its crowded interior, three young women and a man, returning home from work, were injured when a Market street car collided with it early last evening at Twelfth and Market streets. All sustained severe bruises and shock and were taken to the Halnemann Hospital. They were:

HARRY RHEINHARD, aged 26 years, of 2545 Montrose street.
LILLY JOHNSON, aged 24 years, of 2740 Wharton street.
GRACE EAMES, aged 26 years, of 1426 South Guenther street.
JENNIE DAHIE, aged 23 years, of 4800 Paschall avenue.

Both cars were crowded, their platforms being filled with men and women, while boys clung to their steps or to the rear of each, when the collision occurred, tying up traffic for nearly half an hour.

Woman Describes Accident

Miss Johnson, whose right arm was badly wrenched and who was severely shaken up, graphically describes the accident. She told how she and Miss Eames and Miss Dahie had boarded the Elmwood avenue car at Twelfth and Arch streets, being barely able to force their way upon its crowded front platform. They found that they could not get inside of the car, so completely was it occupied. Rheinhard was standing at the front door, having boarded the car at Tenth and Arch streets, and he tried vainly to make room within the car for the young women that they might not be exposed to the rain the strong wind was blowing into their faces.

The three young women huddled together among other passengers on the front platform and they were standing in this uncomfortable position when the car, south-bound on Twelfth street, started across Market street. As the front of it shot over the east-bound track on the latter thoroughfare a big, eight wheel Haddington car, its motorman evidently losing control of it on account of the slippery rails, crashed into it.

There was a terrifying sound of splintering wood and breaking glass, above which rose the piercing screams of frightened women. The Elmwood avenue car, with its passengers helplessly jammed together, was driven from the track by the impact of the Haddington car, the front of it being wrecked and panes of glass in its windows being reduced to fragments.

Motorman Sticks to Post

Rheinhard and Miss Johnson, Miss Eames and Miss Dahie were all hurled from their feet, but the closed gate on one side of the platform prevented them from being thrown to the street. The motorman, Nicholas Adamson, courageously stuck to his post, while pieces of glass and bits of wood descended upon him in a shower.

He and others helped the hysterical, injured women from the car, while Rheinhard, dazed by the severe shock he had sustained, collapsed. The other passengers struggled with each other to secape from the car, men and women pushing and shoving each other, the excited tones of one mingling with the hysterical cries of the other. For a few minutes there was a great deal of confusion. Traffic was tied up on both Market and Twelfth streets, and a great crowd collected. The accident occurred during the home rush hours and the crowd swelled to such proportions that a detail of reserve policemen had to be summoned from City Hall to restore order.

The wrecked car was finally dragged back upon the track and, pushed by a car behind, proceeded on its way. Half an hour elapsed before traffic conditions became normal again.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA 19 Mar 1908