History matters

100 Years Ago

Errant engine

A Serious Railroad Accident

"The passenger train that left Camden Station a few minutes before 4 o'clock Wednesday afternoon for Frederick, Winchester and intermediate stations was derailed in Union Dam tunnel, two miles west of Ellicott City, on the old main line, at 4:58.

"The accident was caused by the engine No. 814 attached to the train leaving the tracks and taking the baggage car and two coaches with it. ... The west bound track was cleared at 9 o'clock. None of the passengers was injured.

"Engineer Christopher Hile, 1739 Covington Street, Baltimore, was caught between the locomotive and sidewall of the tunnel, where he was pinioned until the arrival of the relief train from Baltimore. He died before he could be released. Conductor Thomas Hammond and Fireman Horen escaped unhurt. The train had left Ellicott City but a few minutes before the accident and had proceeded into the tunnel but a short distance when the engine left the track striking the tunnel on the engineer's side.

"The first report of the trouble reached Camden Station about 5 o'clock and a number of physicians left at once in charge of Dr. Page Edmonds. Superintendent Hobbs directed the working forces in clearing the tracks. Engineer Hile's body was brought to Camden Station on a special train and later removed to an undertaking establishment. He was 54 years old and is survived by a family."

75 Years Ago

Ms. Santa Claus

From the "Ridin' Round" column by Mrs. Robt. Peddicord:

"A short time ago, I heard two women lamenting the fact that 'times were not like they used to be. There is no Christmas Spirit anymore.'

"The same day the following incident came to my notice. A family of transients (father, expectant mother and seven children) from a Southern state moved into a vacant roadside stand on the Washington Boulevard.

"The father soon had the children out begging and announced that he had decided to stay here. As they were surely not our responsibility and very definitely not desirable citizens. the authorities felt it their duty to give them a little immediate relief and order them to move on.

"But a kind-hearted woman had seen that forlorn woman and those dirty, ragged little urchins, who are in no way responsible for their condition. Before they left she gave them the treat of a life time, a baked chicken with stuffing and gravy, peas, mashed potatoes, plenty of bread and pie. She was fully repaid by the shine in their eyes as they fell upon it with fingers (knives and forks being missing).

"I still believe in Santa Claus."

The boulevard (Route 1) was a conduit for many transients and migrant workers from the South during the Depression, as when the Depression hit the South was still not wholly recovered from the war — that is, the Civil War. And, except for textile and lumber mills, that area of the country was not exactly an industrial hub.

For some families living near the boulevard, it was not unusual to have a vagrant knock at their kitchen door and ask for food. But by 1940, northern plants were in Lend-Lease production and gearing up for World War II, so U.S. 1 then became the path to work. The unemployed and underemployed flowed up from the South traveling along the boulevard to find work in war plants in the Baltimore area and points north.

50 Years Ago


Gas and Electric Honors Howard Countians

"During the month of November, one hundred and twenty-seven employees of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company were presented jeweled awards to commemorate their service anniversaries. The awards were given for terms of service ranging from five to fifty-five years."

Albert L. Parrott, of Harwood Park, and Charles C. Lee, of Savage, both received awards. Parrott for 20 years of company service and Lee for 10 years.

Happy holidays to all and a special thanks to the great staff and volunteers working at the Howard County Historical Society. Have a great new year!

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