Marshall, TX fair grounds pavilion collapse, Aug 1884


A Pavilion Caves In, Burying a Man Beneath the Debris, Etc.


MARSHALL, August 17. - Considerable excitement was caused early this morning by the report that the old pavilion on the Fair grounds had fallen, and that a man was killed in the ruins.

THE NEWS reporter was on the ground at 6 o'clock, when he found the whole frame and roof of the amphitheater - a semi-circle, 303 feet - was flat on the ground. The shingles being removed from the place where the unfortunate man was lying, his dead body was found with a rafter lying across his left thigh, the body being on that side. His name was Tom Gaffney and he had been a section hand and brakeman on the Texas and Pacific road. Last night, in company with six others, he went over to the Fair grounds to sleep, it being a pleasant place and near the depot, and while asleep he was killed by the fralling building. The other six men escaped unhurt.

The Fair ground company have been selling the lumber, and the pavilion was weakened by removing the seats, braces, and posts, so that it fell from its own weight. There was no wind at the time.

Justice Case and jury held an inquest, but no papers were found to tell where he came from or anything of his family. No money was found on the body. The coroner's verdict was in accord with the above facts. He was buried by the county.

The Galveston Daily News, Galveston, TX 18 Aug 1884