TWO FROM MASSACHUSETTS KILLED IN FIRST DAY OF RACING AT TRACK IN INDIANAPOLIS:
Today's Globe reports that the inauguration of the Indianapolis motor speedway yesterday was marred by a crash that took two lives -- Canadian-born driver William A. Bourque
of West Springfield, Mass., and Harry Holcomb, his mechanic, of Granville, Mass.
They are the first to die in a crash at the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway
. World records were set, also. Barney Oldfield covered a mile in 43.1 seconds and Louis Chevrolet (driving a Buick) covered 10 miles in 8:56.4.
The 250-mile race was won by Robert Burman -- on a track that sprewed dust and was marred with ruts.Bourque was driving a Knox when he crashed. Here's the description:
He had covered nearly 150 miles when the crash came. Coming down the homestretch the car suddenly swerved and dashed into the fence at the left of the track, turning completely over and pinning its two occupants beneath it.
Both were alive when they were removed from the wreck, but they died soon afterward. The article paraphrases an observation of private Frank Brandoer of the Indiana national guard. He was closest to the accident. He said [these are not presented as a direct quotation from Brnadoer] "something cased both men to suddenly turn and look behind. As they did so the steering wheel slipped from Bourque's hands and he threw his arms helplessly in the air. Then came the crash."
The fatal crash prompted the American Automobile Association to command that the owners of the track make changes to the surface. Otherwise the group plans to remove its sanction from the races.
Eventually, the change will lead to the laying of millions of bricks, leading to the nickname of the track -- The Brickyard.
That tragically famous Aug. 19, 1909, race is viewed as the first stock car race at the track
, not the Brickyard 400.ANOTHER TRAGEDY STRIKES A GLOUCESTER SCHOONER:
The front page of the Globe carries the sad tale of the sinking of the Orinoco
, a fishing schooner out of Gloucester, Mass. (The deaths are part of a sobering list of "Men Lost Fishing from Gloucester in the 1900s."
The photo above, from the Library of Congress, shows a typical Cape Ann fisherman from the early 1900s.)
The ship was in a gale 25 miles off Sambro, Nova Scotia yesterday. Six men of the crew of 17 survived.
Twelve men were sleeping below decks when the ship turned turtle in the face of a stiff south gale. Eleven of those men died. Here's how the dispatch from Nova Scotia described what happened to the ship, which was "bound to the banks" (presumable the Grand Banks off Newfoundland
):The vessel filled and sank so quickly that the men below were caught like rates in a trap and drowned. The inrushing waters kept them from coming up the companionway, and with one exception they were all carried down. The vessel filled withing three minutes after she turned over.
Hard to imagine the terror.
The article lists the names -- and mentions the four who "were married and leave families." It also mentioned one of the dead -- Charles Shaw, of Argyle, N.S. -- was 13 years old.
How did it happen? The article says, "There was a stiff south gale blowing at the time and a high sea running. The helmsman let the vessel up into the wind to clear the jib sheet. She care around the caught the sails aback and capsized."WELLMAN MAKES ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO FLY TO THE NORTH POLE:
Explorer/aeronaut/adventurer/journalist Walter Wellman
reportedly took off from Spitzbergen
on August 16. (The photo above, from the George Grantham Bain Collection of the Library of Congress, show him on the deck of one of his polar air ships; it was taken between 1907 and 1910.)
The story has a Paris dateline and describes the circuitous route the news took. The Italian ship Thalia, which is at Hammerfest, Norway, sent a telegram to Trieste from where a dispatch was sent to Paris. Wellman has four years' worth of preparations behind him in his efforts to make the trip. He tried in 1906 but postponed his departure because the season was getting too late in the year for such a trek. In 1907, he started off in the airship America, but a storm drove him back. He departed from New York this year on May 12. He guessed that he could reach the pole from Spitzbergen in two to five days.
That means, if he left Aug. 16, he might have made it by the time someone read the story in today's Globe.
Labels: automobiles, exploration, tragedy