Orrville Depot Damaged in Car Crash

The west wall of the Orrville Union Depot Museum was shattered by a colliding car on 5/20/2014. The baggage cart was pushed in front of the crash site after to prevent entry.

The west wall of the Orrville Union Depot Museum was shattered by a colliding car on 5/20/2014. The baggage cart was pushed in front of the crash site after to prevent entry.

Orrville School System has conducted tours of the Orrville Historic District for third grade students for several years.

It is a walking history lesson for the students. The district is comprised of the Smith Orr homestead, the Orrville History Museum and the Orrville Union Depot Museum. All are related to the early founders of Orrville and the Pennsylvania Railroad.

On Tuesday May 20, approximately 120 students took the history tour. They were in groups of about 12 students who rotated from one site to the next.

Just before noon the last group was inside the Orrville Union Depot Museum, the home of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society. ORHS member Roger Scott had just finished talking about the artifacts in a large wood and glass showcase in the former depot waiting room.

A few seconds after they moved to another display a large crash filled the room with a loud bang. A car had backed into the west depot wall, caving it in and spreading debris inside.

The large showcase was toppled and shoved several feet into the room. Shattered glass was everywhere. Roger and the students were still in the waiting room, but luckily were no longer in front of the toppled showcase. Thankfully, no one had been injured.

The driver of the car had been escorting the student groups to and from the depot. Since it was the last group of the morning, he climbed into his car to leave. As he was backing from his parking spot, his foot slipped off the brake pedal and onto the accelerator. This caused his car to careen into the depot wall.

When you have a trackside historic museum, you are always concerned about a derailed train coming through the wall. It happened to the Wooster depot by a Conrail freight train after it had been painted for restoration as a museum by a local history group. That depot was a total loss.

Today’s crash was much less serious than that, but could have caused many injuries. It was a blessing that it did not.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

Bricks from the depot's west wall litter the floor of the main waiting room after the crash.

Bricks from the depot’s west wall litter the floor of the main waiting room after the crash.

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Railroad artifact debris fills the toppled showcase.

Railroad artifact debris fills the toppled showcase.

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