Owatonna, MN Train Wreck, Aug 1883


Owatonna, Minn., Aug. 23. -- Meagre telegraphic advices received here early this morning state that a terrible accident occurred between Rochester and Zumbrata, Minn., on the Rochester & Northern division of the Chicago & Northwestern railway, by which about one hundred people were killed and wounded. On account of the interruption of the telegraphic service at Rochester, no information could be obtained until the arrival of the train from the scene of the disaster, with thirty-five people who had been wounded in the accident. Of this number many seem to be badly injured and all have been taken to the hospital. The train wrecked was that which leaves Rochester about 4 p.m., arriving at Zumbrata about 6 p.m. It was caught in a severe wind and hail storm which prevailed in that vicinity between 4 and 6 o'clock in the evening, and while running at a high rate of speed it was lifted from the rails. A gentleman who had been at the scene described it as one of the most horrifying railway accidents ever witnessed. Every car in the train was completely wrecked, and almost literally shattered to pieces by the sudden stop caused by the train leaving the rails burying the unfortunate passengers beneath the debris, killing and injuring nearly every person aboard. A gentleman stated that nine dead bodies had been taken from the ruins and a large number of those seriously injured removed to Rochester and Owatonna. At the time he left the work of extricating the unfortunate victims was progressing, and it was believed the number of the killed would reach a score when the final summing up was made.

The Bismarck Tribune North Dakota 1883-08-24