Recently I have been doing research on a deadly Delaware tragedy that spurred a vice-president of the Pennsylvania Railroad to push for national safety transportation regulations. Following a number of accidents involving powerful explosives, including a catastrophic one in Greenwood, DE, the Bureau of Explosives was created under the American Railway Association.
The Sussex County disaster occurred over a hundred years ago, December 2, 1903. In the midst of a blinding snow storm two trains collided in the center of the town of 367 people. One pulling a lethal cargo of dynamite and naphtha exploded, the blast and fire severely damaging the Sussex County community.
Since I have been searching for photographs, maps, and other sources, here is some additional material that has been located:
Click here to read a narrative about the disaster.
This is a post about the research process and going about finding material on the incident.
Scenes from the destruction in the vicinity of the railroad junction in Greenwood. Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 4, 1903
Dr. Johnson’s home and barn. His horse was trapped in the barn and died during the blaze. source: Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 4, 1904
One of the Locomotives. Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 4, 1903
This is a Sanborn Map of 1924, some 20 years after the incident. It is the only detailed map of Greenwood I have located thus far and was the only series Sanborn published for the town. source: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1924.
One of the pages of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1929.
Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1924
The Delaware State Gazeteer for 1874 describes the village a number of decades before the accident. Source: Delaware state Gazetteer 1874 via Google Books
The Delaware State Gazetteer, 1874. source: Google Books
Philadelphia Inquirer report on the extent of the disaster. source: Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 5, 1903
A report on the extent of the damage. Source: Philadelphia Inquirer. Dec. 5, 1903