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Ohio Historical Marker

As a result, the city of Ashtabula and the State of Ohio, designated the hospital as a fitting spot to place the Ohio Historical Marker and Audio Memorial. Although the disaster did not take place at this location, the crash site can be seen from the hospital's helicopter landing pad, just down the river.


Ashtabula Train Disaster Audio Memorial (7 min.)
Location: James Lewis Smith Memorial Courtyard in front of main entrance to
Ashtabula County Medical Center
2420 Lake Avenue, Ashtabula, Ohio

Wording on the Historical Marker 

(Location) Southwest corner of the grounds of Ashtabula County Medical Center 32nd and Lake Avenue, Ashtabula, Ohio


Ashtabula Train Disaster
December 29, 1876

Near this site, an iron truss bridge collapsed into the Ashtabula River during a blizzard, plunging a passenger train with 160 on board into the gulf below. Nearly 100 people were killed in this, one of the worst train disasters in American history. The most well known passengers were Philip Paul Bliss (1838-1876) and his wife, Lucy. A leading gospel songwriter, Bliss wrote more than 100 hymns including the music to "It Is Well With My Soul." The unidentified were buried in a mass grave at Chestnut Grove Cemetery that is marked by a tall granite monument listing the names of those who died. The local hosptial was founded as a result of this diseaster and features an audio history in the James Lewis Smith Memorial Courtyard in front. The incident also led to reforms in bridge design and railroad safety.

Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, Bliss Remembrance Committee, The Ohio Historical Society 2003

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