Events planned to commemorate 100th anniversary

Friday, June 29, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 26

The Nashville Chattanooga Preservation Society is hosting events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Dutchman’s Curve tragedy, the worst train wreck in American history, which occurred in Nashville on July 9, 1918.

Friday, July 6: Dinner and premier of video presentation of “Dutchman’s Curve, America’s Worst Train Wreck’’ at Bellevue Church of Christ, 7401 Highway 70 S, 6 p.m. $25. Information

Saturday, July 7: Greenways for Nashville is hosting A Day on the Richland Creek Greenway, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Author Betsy Thorpe will lead a series of five interpretative walks through the Richland Creek Greenway in recognition of the 100-year anniversary of the wreck. A different special guest speaker will accompany Thorpe on each walk. Each speaker will explore some of the other significant historical events that have occurred on – and near – the greenway. Tours begin at the Old Bridge Trailhead of the Richland Creek Greenway, 4324 Harding Pike. Tickets

  • 9:30-10:30 a.m.: Father Ed Steiner, pastor of the Cathedral of the Incarnation, will discuss the impact the Catholic Church had on the area and nearby neighborhood.
  • 10:30-11:30 and 1:30-2:30: Terry Coats, railroad historian and author, will discuss how the Nashville Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway influenced the area and how the train wreck at Dutchman’s Curve affected the local railroad culture. Betsy Thorpe will not be present for these two tours.
  • 11 a.m.-noon: Robert Brandt, attorney, author and friend of Nashville Greenways, will discuss stories related to the interpretive markers on the Richland Creek Greenway and the purpose and development of greenways in Nashville.
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m.: Scarlett Miles, Metro Historic Commission, will discuss the importance of Metro Historical markers in preserving and documenting history and how the Dutchman’s Curve historical helped preserve the train wreck story.
  • 2-3 p.m.: Joe Loftis, fourth generation West Nashville native, will discuss how West Nashville earned its early reputation as a rough and tumble community. He will share his family history. His family tree includes land developers, railroad workers, moonshiners and law enforcement officers.

Sunday, July 8: Honoring the 68 African Americans who died in the train wreck who were segregated in Jim Crow rail cars located directly behind the locomotive boiler. Twenty-eight of the African-American victims were buried in Nashville at Ararat and Greenwood cemeteries. Eighteen of the victims were never identified. The unidentified were laid to rest without friends or family to mourn them. They were interred in a section of the cemetery known as The Paupers Field. The exact location of their graves is unknown. Pastor Enoch Fuzz of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church will deliver a funeral sermon. The church choir will sing classic spiritual songs. 2:30 p.m., Mount Ararat Cemetery, Orr Avenue off Elm Hill Pike.

Sunday, July 8: Honoring locomotive engineer William Lloyd and other train wreck victims who died at Dutchman’s Curve. 1:45 p.m., 1101 Lebanon Pike. Information

Monday, July 9: Dutchman’s Curve Memorial Observation. 7 a.m., Pedestrian Bridge, Richland Creek Greenway, 4324 Harding Pike. The Bellevue Harpeth Historic Association hosts the memorial and is open to the public. Mayor David Briley will be among the speakers. Free. Information