Railroads Come to Powder Springs 1882 and 1905, Part II

The Southern Railroad and the Seaboard Railroads came to Powder Springs in 1882 and 1905. In doing so, they put Powder Springs on the map and brought prosperity, opportunities and jobs for her residences. However, they also brought accidents and tragedy as well.

These articles are from various newspapers of the day. Researched (in 2018) and provided by Kaaren Tramonte.

March 2, 1885 – Marietta, GA – (Special) – Judge A. C. McIntosh Killed, News was brought here today by the mail carrier that Judge A. C. Mcintosh, of Powder Springs, was killed by the train on the East Tennessee (Southern) Railroad this morning. It is said that he attempted to flag down the train by standing on the track in front of it, remained too long, the train catching him and killing him instantly. Judge McIntosh, (b) Dec 1828 and (d) March 1885, is buried in the Methodist Cemetery.

January 8, 1904 – While blasting in a cut on the Seaboard Air Line (Railroad) at Powder Springs, GA, Tuesday, the blast went off before the men were ready. Mr. Frank Shuman, one of the contractors, whose home is in Charlotte, failed to make his escape in time. A heavy rock struck him in the side, killing him instantly. The body arrived in Charlotte late Wednesday night. Note: It seems as if the Seaboard was doomed from the start.

March 2, 1907 – SEABOARD LIMITED IS WRECKED ENGINEER IS CREMATED; FIVE COACHES BURNED. Train #38 from Birmingham to Atlanta near Powder Springs and entire train is burned. Special train sent to wreck. Note: One of the most complete wrecks ever witnessed back in the day, was that of Train #38. The passenger train was making good time barreling down the tracks at what witnesses said to be speeds averaging 50-60 mph. A businessman had just congratulated the rail crew on making it to the City on time when the accident occurred.

March 4, 1909 – Local Powder Springs man was killed today on the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia (Southern) Railroad approaching the town of Powder Springs. Jimmie (James or Jim as he was known) G. Landrum was a brakeman of this train that ran from Atlanta, Georgia, to Heflin Alabama. On the tracks approaching Powder Springs from Austell, the train was doing some switching and Jimmie was on top of the front car trying to turn the brakes because the rod had been cracked (or broke). Unfortunately, he fell under the car and was dragged 40 yards to his death.

Jimmie is buried in the Baptist Cemetery in Powder Springs, GA, in the Landrum family burial plot. The Railroad provided a large monument for his grave because he was killed while working for them which is located at his graveside. There are two trains carved into two of the four sides of the monument. Jimmie was 23 years old (1886-1909). Note: This was by far the most tragic accident that affected his family and the town.

September 11, 1928 – FARMER IS KILLED IN GRADE CROSSING AT POWDER SPRINGS. Powder Springs, GA, (Special) Glenn Walden, 35, prominent farmer of this community, was instantly killed this morning when his truck was struck by a train near the Powder Springs (Southern) Depot. his son, Bobbie, aged 9, was in the truck at the time of the accident and was dangerously injured. Note: local legend has it that if you go down to the crossing on Brownsville Road at 3:00 a.m. and park by the tracks, the spirit of a farmer will appear…flailing his arms as if to save you from receiving a similar fate. Mr. Walden (b) June 9, 1897 and (d) Sept 11, 1928, is buried in the Bullard Cemetery.

December 25, 1933 – Plot Seen in Wreck of Southern Train. Atlanta, GA, Charging that a deliberate plot was responsible for the wreck of the Royal Palm express of the Southern Railroad at Powder Springs near here Saturday, police and railroad authorities sought to fix responsibility. The wreck cost two lives and injuries to several when the long train plunged from the tracks.

On April 13, 1945 a slow moving train passed through Powder Springs. This special train was the Presidential Train with a flag-draped coffin carrying President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s body back to Washington. President Roosevelt had passed away in Warm Springs at “The Little White House” the day before. The passing of the train was witnessed by many people in Powder Springs who had gathered along the tracks paying their respects. This scene was repeated from Warm Springs to Washington.

January 22, 1973 – 5 Gas Tankers Explode – Powder Springs, Ga. – A Seaboard Coast Line (Railroad) freight train carrying five gas tankers derailed about 500 yards from a chemical plant late Sunday night. Two crewmen were reported injured. Cobb County police, fearing other explosions, quickly evacuated persons from homes near the scene and sealed off roads in the area, about 25 miles northwest of Atlanta. There was no immediate word on the kind of gas being hauled in the tankers. However, a Powder Springs policeman said a spokesman at the chemical Plant told him it was “deadly, toxic’. “It looked like an atomic bomb going off” said Sara Crews, who was riding in a car 11 miles away when the first Blast occurred about 11:30 p.m. EST. “It looked like the sun was fixing to Come up, the sky was so bright”. Note: The evacuation and cleanup lasted over several days.

Author: curator

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