Dutchman’s Curve, the worst railroad accident in American history

[Photo by Chris Wage]

On July 9, 1918, the worst railroad accident in American history occurred in Nashville — 121 lives were lost (or, more, some believe). The Nashville Post has a story about the tragic Dutchman’s Curve crash and also has posted text from local news reports that appeared the following day. Nine years ago, Mike Kilen of the Tennessean wrote this article.

The location of the crash can be seen on the Richland Creek Greenway (click on ‘Dutchman Curve Memorial’). For those familiar with Nashville geography, if you’ve ever parked in the large parking garage behind St. Thomas Hospital, you have been within one-hundred yards of where the wreck occurred — as you can see on this map. Last week, Nashville blogger Chris Wage, posted this shot of one element of the small memorial you can find at the location. (Here are a couple of shots I’ve taken at the same location: here and here).

Observation: In the Kilen article from 1998 a song is mentioned, “The Great Nashville Train Wreck,” by the extremely successful Nashville songwriter, Bobby Braddock (as I know more than few readers of this blog aren’t schooled in these things, his songs range from George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” — no doubt one of the greatest country songs ever written and performed to “I Want to Talk About Me” — which isn’t one of the greatest country songs ever written and performed). Does anyone know if the Great Nashville Train Wreck was recorded? With all of the old-time country songs about train wrecks (another post for another day, you’d think there would be a song about this one.).

  • Hudge

    Right on about “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Singers and songwriters should simply stop and do the “We are not worthy” obeisance whenever that song is played. George Jones has recorded a ton of so-so songs with overheated arrangements that no one recalls – the ones we remember are the simpler ones that let his voice do its magic.

  • I agree on He Stopped Loving Her Today, and on I Want to Talk About Me, as long as it’s not gratuitous Toby Keith slamming.

  • David Allen Coe recorded “The Great Nashville Train Wreck” by Bobby Braddock.

    It is on his album “I’ve got something to say”.

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