Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Upcoming events and the wreck at Yorba Station

I figured I'd do one more post before my weeklong break. The photo above shows the aftermath of the great train wreck of Aug. 4, 1915, at Yorba Station on the Atchison Topeak & Santa Fe Railroad. (The illustration of the accident that follows the photo comes from the L.A. Times published the following day.) A runaway tank car, carrying 10,000 gallons of oil, came down a steep siding at 60 mph, running into a passenger train heading the opposite direction at 40 mph. The tank car exploded, spraying oil over the train which was immediately engulfed in an enourmous fire. Three crewmen died and 31 passengers were seriously injured. In modern terms, the site of the wreck would be along Orangethorpe Ave., between the Atwood area and Imperial Highway.
The next Orange County Historical Society meeting will be held Thurs., Sept. 11, 6:30-9:00pm, at the Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. PCH, in Corona del Mar. Iris Cummings Critchell will discuss her experiences as an aviatrix in Orange County from the 1930s to the 21st Century. The event will include a dessert and appetizer potluck, so bring a dessert for six, ready to serve.
California State Parks' Senior State Archaeologist, Richard Fitzgerald, will speak at the Bolsa Chica Land Trust on Thurs., Oct 2, 7pm, at the Huntington Beach Public Library, 7111 Talbert Ave, Room C/D. He will discuss archaeological sites of Bolsa Chica, (in Huntington Beach,) including ORA-83. The event is free. For more information visit http://www.bolsachicalandtrust.org/.
The Costa Mesa Historical Society will present a Pioneer Day on Sat., Sept. 20, 10am-3pm, in Estancia Park, 1900 Adams Ave. The day's programs will include a talk at noon by Anna Angell-Neustat, great-granddaughter of Gabriel Allen, who owned the "Estancia" adobe from 1870 to 1887. See the CMHS website for details.
The Bowers' blog recently featured a photo of the Santa Ana Women's Marching Club, circa 1900. The entry explains that marching clubs were trained drill teams for political and social demonstrations. You'll see the modern equivalent (with less fancy uniforms) outside the political conventions over the next couple of weeks.
See you in a week.


FV Tom said...

Just found your blog today. In a word: AWESOME. I can't wait to waste away my day looking at everything. Thanks! Tom.

Chris Jepsen said...

I won't be doing another regular post until late next week, so that should give you a little time to catch up. Welcome aboard! :-)

ItsNotAPlace said...

I was trying to figure out where that steep grade line is/was that the oil car came down. Does it still exist in the modern tracks that are there? Maybe not.

I am thinking that based on the general location of the crash and the "steep grade" description this line might have been near Lakeview? I know that the area between Atwood and Imperial Hwy has some steep uphill areas north of the track line.

I was looking for some tell tale streets that might still show where the old line's right of way ran (like you can see the right of way for most of the Pacific Electric) and there are some indications of a diagonal... but it is hard to tell for sure.

colony rabble said...

Your week is up Jepsen! Put down the BBQ and nobody gets hurt.

Hope you had a great trip, now come back to us and feed our history addiction please.

Anonymous said...

Nothing is ever too steep on a railroad line, but I believe the tanker got loose up at Olinda, and so had plenty of time to pick up speed. And a switch was open to the main line.

The tracks left Olinda on the east side of Valencia (there's your diagonal) then made a sweeping curve to the east after crossing Imperial Highway, crossing Yorba Linda Blvd. west of Valley View. There were a couple more jogs, but the tracks were mostly east of Van Buren. The wye where the Olinda branch met the main line was just west of Van Buren at Orangethorpe.

cmckerliesr said...

I am looking for information on this wreck. My great grandfather was on this train and died of his injuries later that day. No one knows why he was on the train or where he may have been coming from. Can you give my any information on the train, its schedule (time table) or any thing that may help?
Craig McKerlie.