Sheldon Museum: A Story of Weight – The Otter Creek Trestle Collapse of 1893

The Sheldon Museum presents: A Story of Weight – The Otter Creek Trestle Collapse of 1893, a talk by Danielle Rougeau, president of the Henry Sheldon board and Middlebury College Archivist. She uses the Sheldon’s photo of the Otter Creek train trestle collapse of 1893 to talk about the town, the train industry, and the forces that shape the story behind that photographic moment. The covered wooden railway trestle spanning Otter Creek collapsed under the weight of a coal train in the early morning hours of Friday May 5, 1893. The engine, boxcars and five fully loaded coal hoppers made it safely onto land on the Water Street side, but as the next five fully loaded coal hoppers rolled onto the 200-foot span, the trestle gave way, sending the five cars to the bottom of the creek and derailing the remainder on the southern side. Less than thirty minutes earlier, a passenger train had safely crossed the bridge.

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Producer: Henry Sheldon Museum