Crimes & Disasters
Documents & Records
Mountain Line Accident
Akron & Cuyahoga Rapid Transit Co.
The Akron & Cuyahoga Rapid Transit Co. built
the road later called the mountain line. This road ran from Front
Street in the Falls across the Glen Bridge (scene of this event),
paralleled the steam roads to Bettes Corners, then by private
right of way to Furnace . St. and on to Main Street in Akron. In
1894 the Cuyahoga Falls Rapid Transit co. built a line to
Barberton. The following year they extended their line east to
Kent. During the same year, the company built a short line to
Randolph Park, along the side of Silver Lake.
An example of an open sided summer car of the
Akron Cuyahoga Falls Rapid Transit known as the Mountain
Line. Picture taken in 1905
Mountain Line Car Plunges off Glen Bridge
On June 11, 1918, occurred an event that affected the
first trolley route that made trips from Akron to Cuyahoga Falls.
This line, greatly shortened, continued for many years afterward
but was never the same, as the connection with downtown Cuyahoga
Falls was severed.
This particular Tuesday afternoon, the 4:00 o'clock run on the
mountain line to the Falls from Akron was late. The car #350 with
Leroy Bessemer, motorman and O. D. Gilmore conductor, made a stop
on the east side of the Glen Bridge at Prospect St., to let off
two persons and then moved on to the bridge at a slow rate of
speed. At a point about halfway across, the front trucks left the
rail and before motorman Bessemer realized what was happening ,
the car broke through a section of the wooden floor and the steel
railing, and plunged 105 Ft. into the Cuyahoga river.
This dreadful accident was witnessed by a crew on the Akron-Kent
Ravenna car, which was standing directly on the crossover at Front
St. (The west side of this same bridge). The conductor on the A.-K
& D car was immediately lowered on a rope by several people who
came running up having heard the terrible crash. His eyewitness
"I was the first human being to witness the results of
this terrible accident, up close. I was being lowered down to
the wreck, I could only see two bodies. The up river currents of
air made landing difficult on the rocks in the river bottom. As
my main interest was to get aid to the injured, I located the
bodies as fast as possible, and had the people on the bridge
pull them up, The only person I believed was alive, and made a
determined effort to save, was Luizzi Pellogione, an Italian
lad, who had been thrown clear of the wreckage into deep water.,
His feeble efforts was to no avail as he drowned before I could
get help to him. By this time, men had reached the scene
from other places and I was extremely glad to turn this gruesome
job over to them."
As in today's times there always seems to be some sort of
controversy that surrounds anything that deems tragic and
interestingly enough as this gentleman was brought back up to the
bridge he was taken into custody by N. 0, T. Officials, and held
in downtown Akron for 36 hrs. Their excuse being they said, "so he
could not talk to anyone".
Leroy Bessemer, motorman, was placed in the dead wagon by
mistake, as was Henry Van Loosen, a machinist. Someone noticed a
movement by Bessemer and called a Doctor's attention. The Doctor
on close examination discovered that both Bessemer and Van
Loosen were among the living. They had both sustained broken
legs and fractured skulls, but recovered after many months of
being hospitalized and lived fairly normal lives for some years
after. In the end there appeared to be four that were dead and
Description of the N. O. T. & L. Car #350
It was built by Kuhlman in 1909.
42Ft. in length. Single end.
Double trucks, type B27F. Wheels 33 In.
Motor type WH101B2, used 4 motors with a total H.P. of 160.
Total weight 47420.
Statements made by the city officials of Cuyahoga Falls, and
the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Co.
In falling the car turned over end for end. Both trucks were
detached from the floor frame when the car struck. The roof and
sides were crushed by the impact like an egg- shell hit with a
The city officials of the Falls went on to blame the accident
onto the carelessness of the N.O.T. work train, who on the same
afternoon dunned loads of cinders along the car line. They
contended that the cinders were carried by the car wheels on to
the bridge and therefore caused the front truck to leave the
F. I. Hardy, General Supt. of the N.O.T. had this to say, "I
think it was a defect in the rolling stock and not from cinders
being the trick."
Publicity Manager Fenton of the N.O.T. said, "It was
unreasonable to think that cinders caused the front truck to
leave the track on a 12 ton car".
2d. D. Eckroad, chief engineer of the N.O.T. said, "either a
broken flange or axle or a defect in the track would cause an
accident of that nature."
Photograph Archives. Cuyahoga
Falls Library, Cuyahoga Falls, OH.
Durst Files. Cuyahoga
Falls Library, Cuyahoga Falls, OH.
Trolley Crossed Prospect Span." Cleveland Press 15 Oct.
Perry, Roy H.
"Relives Mountain Line Car Tragedy." Falls News Press
23 Aug. 1962.