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Audio memorial.

Train Wreck Audio Memorial

Field review by the editors.

Ashtabula, Ohio

"The Ashtabula Horror" so traumatized this city that three memorials commemorate it: a plaque near the crash scene, an obelisk in the cemetery, and an audio memorial outside of the hospital.

It happened on December 29, 1876, when the Ashtabula Creek Bridge collapsed into a 70-foot-deep gorge.

In a blizzard.

With a train on top of it.

Ninety-two of its 159 passengers and crew were killed. As if the crash weren't bad enough, the passenger cars' stoves caught fire and incinerated many of the survivors.

Then robbers invaded the flaming wreck and murdered several more.

This disaster was so bad that it reportedly killed railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt from shock. The bridge designer later committed suicide. The railroad's chief engineer was murdered and it was made to look like a suicide. Ashtabula became a shunned town, its growth stunted, with homeowners and businesses bypassing it in favor of Cleveland.

Overall, not much to commemorate, but Ashtabula makes the best of what it has.

The unique audio memorial is in a little garden in front of the entrance to Ashtabula County Medical Center, commemorating a horrible train wreck. Push the button and you'll hear the harrowing story of the wreck, complete with sound effects. And the Medical Center is itself a kind of memorial -- the nicest one in town -- as it was built to help lessen the casualty count of any future calamities like the one that happened six blocks south of it.

Also see: Ashtabula Horror

Train Wreck Audio Memorial

Ashtabula County Medical Center

Lake Ave., Ashtabula, OH
Hwy 11 north to US 20 exit. West on US 20, over the bridge, then right at light onto Lake Ave. Go under the railroad overpass. A few more blocks on the right will be the Ashtabula County Medical Center. The memorial is in the little garden in front of the front entrance.
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