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Local History Happenings-Fall 2014

Stimson photos of the Bostian Train Wreck

Bostian Train Wreck

The town was asleep on August 27, 1891, when passenger train No. 9 of the Western North Carolina Railroad pulled into Statesville. It was 2:26 a.m. when it stopped for a minute to let passengers get off and on at the depot. The train was due at 1:52 a.m. but was running 34 minutes behind schedule. No. 9 left town heading west toward its next stops in Newton and Asheville.

The train had traveled less than 2 miles when it approached Bostian Bridge over Third Creek. By the time the train reached the bridge it was traveling between 25 and 35 miles an hour. The engine had almost reached the other side of the bridge when passengers reported feeling an ominous jerking and bumping of the train. The back cars of the train had derailed. Passengers claimed they felt the awful sensation of falling downwards as the train was pulled off the 60 foot high bridge and down into the dark creek below. The wreck claimed the lives of 22 passengers and left 30 more injured. It was the worst disaster in Iredell County’s history up to that time and is still second with only the influenza epidemic of 1918 taking more lives. More...