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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Old news

But very interesting... I found this September 13, 1867, article from Springfield, Illinois, in the archives of the New York Times while looking for something else entirely. It made page two in New York:

Explosion of a Boiler in Springfield, Ill.
-- Buildings Demolished -- Narrow Escape of the Employees.
From the Springfield (Ill.) Journal, Sept. 6.
Yesterday morning, at about 7:20 o'clock, the steam-boiler of the City Mill, owned by E.R. Hickox, situated on Seventh-street, between Cook and Edwards streets, exploded, almost entirely destroying the mill and completely demolishing the office and engine-house and machinery. The explosion was of such force as to fill the air in the vicinity with timbers, boards, shingles and fragments of the boiler, and the report and concussion were like the discharge of a cannon, shaking the buildings several blocks off like an earthquake. At the time of the explosion there were five persons in the mill and office, viz: Mr. E.R. Hickox, the proprietor of the mill; Mr. S.H. Basset, the clerk; Mr. Capps, the miller; Mr. Kearn, the teamster; and Mr. Daniel Slate, none of whom, strange to say, were killed. Mr. Hickox, at the time of the explosion, stood in the centre of the mill, near the scales, and was struck on the head with a brick or something else which fractured the bone just back of the ear, producing a bad wound, and also had two of his ribs fractured. Although Mr. Hickox's wounds are quite serious, his physicians express the opinion that he will recover. Mr. Kearn, the teamster, who was standing near Mr. Hickox, was blown through the north door of the mill into the yard, landing about twenty-five feet from the starting point, but was uninjured. Mr. Capps was bruised upon his back and slightly burned with the steam, but escaped with little injury. Mr. Slate escaped without any injury whatever.
The most wonderful escape of all was that of Mr. Bassett, who was in the office, which was entirely destroyed, the roof being blown off, the _____ and one end thrown down, and the door sunk upon four feet, and yet he received only a cut upon the head, not serious, probably from a brick or piece of timber. He was able to attend to his business soon after the accident. Jacob Nonenman, the engineer, left the engine-room only a few minutes previous to the explosion, and escaped injury. The boiler, (which was twenty-four feet long and forty-two inches in diameter, containing four flues, the lower of which were ten inches and the upper twelve inches in diameter,) lay east and west, outside the main building, in a house erected for the purpose. The boiler was torn into fragments measuring from two to ten feet in length, as though it had been paper. The west head of the boiler, including about two sections, together with about eight or ten feet of the flue, were thrown over the house of Mr.McCague and landed in a yard. The flue struck near the corner of the house, missing it only by a few inches, but the boiler head struck an iron fence, demolishing several feet of it, and breaking a stone wall 9 by 12 inches, upon which rested the fence. The east end of the boiler and several sections, weighing nearly a ton, broke through the roof of Mr. John Uhler's barn, breaking the rafters and timbers, and lodged on the opposite side, being prevented from passing out by the hay. The house of Mr. Addison Hickox, situated just south of the mills, looks as though there had been heavy discharges of canister and grapo against it; the walls are much battered and the windows broken. A brick passed through the window of the dining-room, just grazing the shoulders of a young lady who was in the room at the time. A fragment of the boiler weighing several hundred pounds, landed at the corner of Seventh and Cook streets, shows signs of having been much burned, as the plate in some places is hardly a sixteenth of an inch in thickness, and was incapable of sustaining any great degree of pressure, and it is not impossible, but quite probable, that the fracture in the boiler first commenced in this section.
There are about 5,000 bushels of wheat in the mill, a large proportion of which is now in the cellar, and about fifty barrels of flour, the later being considerably damaged. The loss is estimated at from $12,000 to $15,000.

The blank space in the second paragraph is mine since I could not read the word. Also, the word "grapo" in the second paragraph is probably wrong since it does not appear to be a word.

See: Current Google Map, also with street view Go north for Edwards Street.

Edit to add: Shortly after I posted this, I read an article on the SJ-R that the Mayor's brother and sister-in-law were in an accident this morning at the nearby intersection of 7th & Cook. I don't know them, but I sure hope they are going to be okay.

Posted by Marie at November 2, 2008 8:42 PM


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