On June 23, 1900, the Southern Railway
’s Engine #7 and its passengers were greeted by a tremendous storm en route to Atlanta
, Georgia. Stalled for some time in nearby McDonough, travelers grew impatient as rain pelted the roof and wind buffeted the cars. When finally given the go-ahead, their resulting joy was short-lived: the locomotive soon reached Camp Creek and disaster. After weeks of constant showers, the swollen creek had eroded the bridge supports. Under the train
’s weight, the bridge collapsed, and all but nine perished in either the fiery fall or watery depths. With the help of local newspapers and eyewitness accounts, Georgia historian and professor Jeffery C. Wells recounts this tragic tale.
Atlanta was a relatively young city at the time of the Civil War, having been developed as a hub of railroad transportation. Railroads became the fastest transportation for people and the most economical for goods during the 19th century.