Side A: 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 hospital was founded as a result of this disaster 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.
Sponsors: Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, Bliss Remembrance Committee, and The Ohio Historical Society