Tragic Good Friday Train Wreck at Glen Rock
The above images from the 1985 York Daily Record story were supplied to the newspaper by Gary L. Klinedinst.
A few older folks might still remember the spectacular train wreck at Centerville, just outside of Glen Rock that Friday afternoon of April 2, 1920. A February 1985 York Daily Record article captured Rev. Millard R. Kroh’s vivid memory of the day.
Kroh was a boy of 17, traveling home from York on that fateful train, a potted hyacinth in his market basket. The fragrant plant was intended to be an Easter decoration on the local cemetery.
Suddenly pieces of track went flying by the window of his passenger car. The train’s two engines fell on their sides, the baggage car went crosswise, and two passenger cars flew off the rails.
Kroh jumped out of his car when he found an open door, quickly heading toward home with his bedraggled hyacinth, leaving the chaos behind.
The Gazette and Daily reported the accident in detail in the April 3, 1920 paper: William H. Dehuff, engineer was dead, pinned beneath his engine. He lived in Baltimore, but his son Walter F. Dehuff, Glen Rock’s Read Machinery superintendent lived near the scene. The other engineer, Charles Wilson of New Freedom, sustained a fracture and other injuries to his right leg. Dehuff’s fireman, Charles J. Kinnard of Baltimore was scalded on the face and neck by escaping steam. The baggage master, Frederick J. Yengler of Baltimore has his hip fractured by flying luggage.
The only passenger injured was Edward Gilbert, an “aged battlefield guide” from Gettysburg, and his injuries were said to be slight. It could have been much worse–according to Kroh, ridership that day was minimal because of the Good Friday holiday. Ordinarily many students, including Kroh would have been coming home on the train from high school in York, since Glen Rock’s high school covered only the first two years at the time.
Why two engines? The 1985 article points out that, as was common, “the front engine had been sent north from New Freedom to be coupled on at Hanover Junction. The extra power was to pull the heavy train up the grade between Glen Rock and New Freedom, where it would be detached before the run to Baltimore.”
The wreck was said to have been caused by a broken spring hanger on the first engine, allowing the engine to drop down and break a rail.
York County Coroner F. V. McConkey arrived at Glen Rock and promptly named six Yorkers, who where also on the scene, to a coroners jury. They were L. Edward Herr, J. Ross Kable, Chauncy T. Kling, G. Morvin Peters, Robert Anderson, and York Mayor E. S. Hugentugler. Kling was a Gazette and Daily reporter, and he was probably the “Staff Correspondent” that wrote the detailed account of the tragedy.
Looking at a present-day map, the accident may have happened near where Glen Rock Road crosses the York County Heritage Rail Trail.
Click here to read about the struggle to get the railroad line run from Baltimore to York.
Click here to read about colorful Mayor Hugentugler and his problems with World War I soldiers.
Click here to read more about Mayor Hugentugler and his police court.
Click here to read about previous excitement in Glen Rock when the first steam engine came to town.
Click here to read about other York County non-auto accidents of the past.