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Turning Back the Pages

•100 years ago - Sept, 1913•

Man escapes jaws of death

Pinned under an automobile in such a manner it had to be propped up to release him, but sustaining only bruises, on Sept. 29, 1913, Orville C. Smith had a miraculous escape from death, fatal or serious injury. A machine owned and driven by Robert Gibson struck a bicycle Smith was riding from his grocery store to his home on 122 Bay Street, Glens Falls, and threw him under the wheels of the car.

Leaving work at his store at 6:30 o’clock, Smith was proceeding up Bay Street and Gibson was coming down the street. When the former neared the corner of Maple St. he thought Gibson intended to turn down that street and in order to avoid the auto he turned to the left. The autoist, however, had no intention of going down Maple Street and turned to the right. The result was that the automobile and bicycle met in a head on collision.

Smith was thrown under the machine which was going slowly and the driver soon brought it to a stop and with the aid of several bystanders he went to the grocer’s assistance, but the latter was pinned under the car is such a manner that it required no little effort to release him. The car was lifted off the ground and Smith was placed in the machine and taken to the office of Dr. T.I. Henning where he was treated and he was than taken to his home. No bones were broken but he was badly bruised and complained of lameness in his back.

Gibson and Smith both declared that the other was not at fault and it was stated that Gibson had done everything possible to aid the injured man. (Note: In 1907 in Massachusetts alone, 62 people were killed in automobile accidents and 640 were injured. In 1908 roads were poor and an American car cost a staggering $2,500, making them “a reckless personal extravagance,” putting ownership far out of the reach of the average citizen. Thanks to Henry Ford, the best was yet to come.)

Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at jhadden1@nycap.rr.com or 623-2210.

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