Jersey City, NJ Street Car Accident, May 1876

A shocking elevator accident.

A street car falls from an elevator on Jersey City Heights-several persons injured, some fatally-the accident near the scene of the great explosion.

A shocking and probably fatal accident occurred last evening at the Ferry street elevator of the North Hudson County Railway Company, on Jersey City Heights. Car No. 7, of the West Hoboken line, which left the Hoboken ferry at 7:40, having on board twenty-seven passengers, was about boarding the Elevator at Ferry street when the engineer began to drawn the platform up and the car, passengers, and horses were dumped into the pit at the bottom of the elevator, a distance of thirty feet. The elevators consist of two large platforms, on to which the cars and horses are placed, and a truckman who has charge of the platform, when everything is ready, rings a bell which directs the engineer, Alfred Debevoise, to go ahead, and the car is hoisted to the top of the Palisades. The cause of the accident last evening is attributed to the carelessness of William Spence, the truckman, who rang the bell for the engineer to go ahead before the car had passed safely on to the truck. The two fore-wheels had just passed on when the engineer began to move the platforms, and the car, turning up on its end, fell into the pit which holds the elevator.

It seems almost a miracle that none of the passengers were killed outright, although several of them were so badly injured that they cannot recover. Among those whose injuries are expected to prove fatal are Mrs. Catharine Hastings, of No. 362 Palisade avenue, legs and back broken and injured internally; Miss Meinken, of No. 198 Washington street, Hoboken, injured about the head and chest and internally; Julius Grishell, of Hutton street, near Palisade avenue, injured about the body, legs, and internally, and a young man named Himbruck, of Palisade avenue, both legs and one arm broken and injured internally. Among those whose injuries are serious but not dangerous are Alderman Henry J. Powell, of the Fourth District; Michael Masterson; Frank Geary, of New-York avenue; a nephew of Henry Belte, of Montgomery avenue, name unknown; William Ritchold, of New-York; a niece of Dr. Laidlaw, name unknown, and JuliusBetten, of No. 116 Washington street, Hoboken. George Goelz, the driver, and Matthew R. Day, the conductor, escaped serious injury and were only slightly scratched. One of the horses was killed instantly and the other so badly injured that it had to be shot. Superintendent Goelz and a force of men were speedily at work assisting the injured ones and taking away the broken car. At midnight the elevator was again in operation. The place where the accident occurred is only a quarter of a mile from where the rendrock explosion occurred on Saturday night.

The New York Times, New York, NY 9 May 1876