In the cool, pre-dawn hours on a June night in 1918, a train engineer closed his cab window as he chugged toward Hammond, Indiana. He drifted to sleep, and his train bore down on the idle Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus Train. Soon after, the sleeping engineer's locomotive plowed into the circus train. In the subsequent wreckage and blaze, more than two hundred circus performers were injured and eighty-six were killed, most of whom were interred in a mass grave in the Showmen's Rest section of Chicago's Woodlawn Cemetery. Join local historian Richard Lytle as he recounts, in the fullest retelling to date, the details of this tragedy and its role in the overall evolution and demise of a unique entertainment industry.
About the Author
Richard Lytle is the local history librarian at the Hammond Public Library and an officer of the Hammond Historical Society. He has previously published two books on military history, The Soldiers of America's First Army: 1791 and The Old Guard in 1898, and has been eager to write this book since taking on his post at the library eight years ago and gaining access to its collection of unpublished train wreck photos.
Table of Contents
1 The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus 11
2 Calumet Region Railroad Development 25
3 The Circus Is Coming 37
4 Hell on Wheels 49
5 Rescue and Remembrance 65
6 Gilded Misery 81
7 Closure 87
About the Author 111