The Wreck of the Duquesne Limited

If you live in Fayette County, you likely heard about the railroad cars that derailed behind the courthouse last week. Happily, no one was injured and no hazardous materials were spilled. There were no disruptions at the library, though we did listen to the steady thrumming of an engine for a few days while part of the train idled nearby.

I often come across railroad and trolley accidents while working with the PA Room’s obituary index. Still, the deaths I see were usually caused by passenger error — a person attempted to hop onto a moving train and lost their grip, for instance, or they got hit while walking the tracks.

There is one local railroad catastrophe that has clung to my memory, however: the wreck of the Duquesne Limited.

This Week In History: The McClelland House Fire, 1914

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the March 23, 1914 edition of the Daily News Standard.

This weekend marked one hundred years since the burning of McClelland House, a hotel that once stood on West Main Street in Uniontown. If you’re local, you may have noticed coverage of the anniversary in the Herald-Standard and even on area news stations — particularly with regard to a volunteer firefighter named Voight LaClair.

This Week in History: The Braznell Mine Disaster of 1899

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the January 6, 1900 edition of the Daily News Standard called “Coroner’s Jury Verdict.” 

An hour before sunrise on December 23, 1899, engineer Solomon Meese stood near the mouth of the Braznell Mine. As the operator of the cage that transported workers up and down the mine shaft, he’d already sent a few groups down that morning. Others had gone in before he’d arrived and were busy preparing for their shift more than a hundred feet below the surface.