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Originally published Friday, June 7, 2013 at 10:15 AM

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The day the trolley jumped the tracks: Aug. 21, 1903

The trolley was packed standing-room only mostly with women, children and their picnic baskets.

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AT ABOUT 10:20 on the morning of Friday, Aug. 21, 1903, a summer picnic in Woodland Park planned by the members of Ballard's Norwegian Danish Baptist Church was derailed by what that afternoon's Seattle Times named "a boy's meddlesomeness."

Both of Seattle's afternoon dailies, The Times and The Star, printed the story on the front page with pictures. The Star's two photos, of which this is one, were credited to the "well-known Fremont photographer, LeRoy Buck." Buck lived on Aurora Avenue, three blocks from the trolley mishap. The Star probably telephoned him. Its description of Buck as "well-known" is, perhaps, part of the paper's payment to this freelancer.

The trolley was packed standing-room-only, mostly with women, children and their picnic baskets. After crossing through downtown Fremont and climbing east up Blewett Street (now North 35th) under full power, the car crossed Aurora Avenue and began its unrestrained descent to what was ordinarily a sharp but negotiable left turn onto Albion Place North. This time, however, the trolley's "controller handle" had locked up with the brake handle, with which the unnamed "meddlesome boy" had been playing.

Instead of turning at Albion, the speeding trolley jumped the curving track and "plunged down an embankment" into an orchard. Several of the estimated 62 passengers were hurt badly. One, 80-year-old Maren Eggan, was still in the hospital in September.

The Star concluded its report with "an interesting side light on the character of the average small boy." After the accident, several boys picked up the pies, sandwiches and cakes from the picnic baskets and ran to and fro hawking refreshments, which they announced were "fresh from the streetcar accident."

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard's blog at www.pauldorpat.com.

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