School Bus, Train Wreck Memorial Set For Aug. 21

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

A commemorative event honoring the victims of the August 1955 tragic school bus, 140 car train wreck in Spring City is planned for Saturday, Aug. 21 at 11 a.m. at Spring City Elementary School.

The 50th anniversary event is planed to kick-off a year of remembrance for the 11 children killed in the tragedy, numerous others injured and their families.

The tragedy occurred on Aug. 22, 1955 as a school bus crossed the southern tracks at Highway 27 in Spring City delivering children to their homes after school. The wreck was witnessed by dozens of surrounding residents who raced to aid the victims. A number were trapped inside the bus and many were thrown as much as 100 yards from the site.

Within an hour esatimates of reporters and law enforcement were that 1,000 people had rushed to the scene to offer aid.

Ambulances from Spring City, Crossville, Rockwood and Harriman raced to the scene and many of those injured were transported to Chamberlain Memorial Hospital in Rockwood by private cars.

Spring City reporter the late Sybil Hardaway, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her graphic eyewitness account of the event. According to Mrs. Hardaway, blood donors raced to medical facilities to donate, including the entire Rockwood and Spring City High School football teams. Positive identification of all the victims was not made for five hours after the wreck according to her report.

When the chaos cleared it was learned ten children ranging from kindergarten through middle school had died at the wreck. The 11th victim died during hospital care.

At the time of the tragedy a group of Spring City woman took the historic step to travel to Nashville to lobby state government, creating the first law requiring school busses to stop at all railroad crossings. The law these woman created eventually was adopted throughout the entire United States.

Now, 50 years later, residents are remembering the children. At the time of the tragedy a large amount of financial support was donated to help with funeral and hospital costs. Some of the remaining donations were used by the families of victims to construct a memorial fountain at the elementary school that displayed the names of the victims. During the renovation and enlargement of the school a number of years ago, the fountain was destroyed and the commemorative plaques re-hung inside the school.

A group of local citizens is working to replace the memorial by the 50th anniversary in 2005 in a location that will be visible to the community.

The commemorative kick-off ceremony Aug. 21, will feature presentation of colors by the Rhea County High School ROTC. A number of other local organizations will participate, including, the Rhea Historical Society, Rhea County Commission and Executive, Spring City Commission, School Board, Woman's Club and Kiwanis members, the Spring City Police Department and Spring City Middle School, among others.

The public is invited to attend this activity to once again support the families and to honor these children.

For additional information contact Annette M. Gould, Publisher of the Watts Bar Lake Observer News, 504 Lakewood Village Road, Spring City, TN 37381, (423) 365-9898.



Chestnut Street To Be Closed For Building Maintenance

Chestnut St. will be closed between W. 11th St. and W. 12th St. for building maintenance. Detours will be posted and all property access will be maintained.  In order to view a map of these  closures , visit  http://www.chattanooga. gov/transportation/ traffic -eng ineering-a-operations/ special ... (click for more)

Part Of Central Avenue To Be Closed Next Week

Central Avenue will be closed between E. 42nd Street and Workman Road starting  Monday, at 8:30 a.m.  and will reopen on  Thursday, at 4 p.m.   Detours will be posted.  In order to view a map of these  closures , visit  http://www.chattanooga. gov/transportation/ traffic -eng ineering-a-operations/ ... (click for more)

TDOT Recommends Spot Improvements For Road Up To Signal Mountain Rather Than Costly Widening Or Reworking The W Road

Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) officials said Friday that widening the road up to Signal Mountain or reworking the W Road would both be very costly. Officials said spot improvements on the existing road should solve most of the issues and be much less expensive.   TDOT officials made a presentation on the status of Signal Mountain Road to the town council ... (click for more)

Shaw Industries To Invest $42 Million At Decatur, Tn., Plant

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Shaw Industries Group, Inc. officials announced Friday that the floor products manufacturer will invest $42 million to upgrade its yarn facility in Decatur. Shaw plans create 75 new jobs in Meigs County as part of the investment. “I’d like to thank Shaw for its continued ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Myth And Fact Check

My husband and I recently had the privilege of participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Chattanooga. I listened as my husband told the audience about how his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was nine and how she died from the disease when he was fourteen. As a child, my husband didn’t understand what breast cancer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: At Last! New Schools

In this me-me-me-only-me world of today, we-we-we-finally got a thrilling $125 million facility plan for the Hamilton County Department of Education on Thursday night. The School Board unanimously approved a well-thought-out “first Band-Aid” that will provide a new elementary school in Harrison, middle schools in East Hamilton and Howard, and a quite-satisfactory answer to move ... (click for more)