One hundred years ago, the Grindstone train wreck on July 28, 1911 involved William Linton Duncan and his son Alexander Noel Duncan. The Duncans were traveling on the train, playing with the Presque Isle Band, and were both injured on the excursion train that had carried passengers to the coast of Maine for a day in the sun at the sea. The train returned late the same night on a stormy trip that ended in one of the worst train accidents in New England, killing nine men mostly from Aroostook County. “The Grindstone Disaster of 1911” was written by Thomas Clark and clearly describes what happened for those of us far removed from the familiarity of train travel. This centennial remembrance of the disaster helps us to consider the devastating influence the loss of life and health has on community, even many years later.
A shorter version of the article appeared in the August 3, 2011 issue of the Star Herald, Presque Isle, Maine’s local weekly newspaper.