Circus train wreck grave.

Mass Grave of Circus Train Wreck Victims

Field review by the editors.

Columbus, Georgia

A large tombstone shaped like a rectangular tent memorializes people killed in a horrible circus train wreck 6.5 miles east of Columbus on November 22, 1915.

It was mid-afternoon on a straight stretch of track when the Con. T. Kennedy Carnival train ran head-on into a passenger train that shouldn't have been there. The metal cars of the passenger train withstood the impact, injuring only a few. But the wooden cars of the circus train telescoped into the engine, caught fire, and incinerated most of the animals and one or two dozen circus people.

The tombstone doesn't say exactly how many circus workers died (news reports claimed 24 died, later accounts put the number at 15), or even if they're buried underneath it. Maybe the mixed-up ashes of the train, animals, and people were shoveled here and the tombstone set on top as a kind of general memorial.

Mass Grave of Circus Train Wreck Victims

Riverdale Cemetery

1000 Victory Dr., Columbus, GA
In Riverdale Cemetery, on the south edge of the city. At the junction of US 280/Martha Berry Hwy and 10th Ave., turn north onto 10th Ave., then immediately turn right into the cemetery. The road into the cemetery runs straight, but immediately bend right instead, and then take the first left. The grave will be a few hundred feet along this road, on the right.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

National Civil War Naval MuseumNational Civil War Naval Museum, Columbus, GA - < 1 mi.
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In the region:
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