I recently drove around Marshall County to harvest all the town signs there that I am missing. One of the things I like to do is visit any historical markers that are on my journey. If I know of a particularly interesting (or in this case tragic) historical marker that isn’t on my way, I will go out of my way to visit such a historical marker. One of these is in Marshall County. It is the site of the Green Mountain Train Wreck. The worst railroad tragedy in Iowa history. 52 people were killed and another 39 injured.
Here is the historical marker to mark the site of this tragedy:
Here is more information from Wikipedia on the tragedy:
The Green Mountain train wreck is the worst ever railroad accident in the state of Iowa, USA. It occurred between Green Mountain and Gladbrook on the morning of March 21, 1910, and killed 52 people.
A train wreck earlier that morning at Shellsburg meant that the Rock Island Line trains were being diverted from Cedar Rapids to Waterloo over Chicago Great Western tracks via Marshalltown. The trains concerned were the No. 21 St Louis-Twin Cities and No. 19 Chicago-Twin Cities; which had been combined into a ten car train with the two locomotives travelling backwards, tender first. The new combined train now had two wooden cars sandwiched between the locomotives, a steel Pullman car, and other steel cars.
Between Green Mountain and Gladbrook, just east of the Marshall County border, the lead engine left the tracks and hit a clay embankment coming to a sudden stop. The steel cars sliced through the two wooden coaches: a smoking car and a ladies’ day coach containing many children. There were no fatalities in the Pullman cars. One of the uninjured passengers said, “I saw women in the coach crushed into a bleeding mass, their bodies twisted out of human shape. I have seen what I shall see all my life when I dream.” A relief train arrived two hours after the accident. It was later reported, “The sight was one of horribly crushed, mutilated, and dismembered bodies.”
Here is a picture of the wreck I found on a website called Cardboard America:
The railroad tracks themselves no longer exist. My best research says that the tracks were abandoned in the 1980s. I haven’t seen any documentation on when the tracks were removed. But enough sadness. Here is a look at the Marshall County Photo Map:
Marshall County Photo Map
And with Marshall County completed, this is what the Photography 139 Conquest Map looks like:
Here are the town signs of Marshall County:
Marshalltown Welcomes You
Marshall County is a very solid county for town signs. I don’t that they have any I necessarily hate. Towns like Ferguson really only had an old railroad depot sign hanging up to designate their town. A lot of towns had those old railroad depot signs hanging up. It was actually pretty impressive. That being said, since that is all Ferguson had and Green Mountain isn’t technically a town any longer, I’ll give Ferguson the worst town sign award. Although Le Grand really pushes for last place as well.
But who gets Best in Show. There are some strong contenders, I really like the signs in Laurel, Liscomb, and Rhodes. For a corporate looking sign, State Center’s sign is pretty okay. But Best in Show has to go to Haverhill:
Haverhill – Best in Show Marshall County
Time for the BENNETT TOWN SIGN POWER RANKINGS.
I’ve also decided to reconsider how I do Best in Show for each county. I’ve decide that a town is only eligible for Best in Show for a county if they are either mostly in that county or if they are evenly split among more than one county. Therefore, these are the altered BEST IN SHOW winners:
Best in Show – Boone County
Next time we visit THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will visit Carroll County.