Other Disasters

The Terrible Red Hill Disaster
6/14/1902 :

Last Saturday morning, two hay rack parties from Denver passed through Morrison enroute to Turkey Creek canyon where they enjoyed themselves very highly in the canyon gathering flowers, climbing the stupendous mountains and enjoying the purities of the mountain air. The young people were from West Denver High School where only last Thursday a number of members of the party had graduated.

It was late in the afternoon before the gay and happy young people started for their home in Denver. As they approached the Red hill from leaving the mouth of the canyon, the second hay rack team became frightened and started to runaway. There were four spirited horses attached to the wagon. They ran at a terrific speed and the driver lost all control of them, being thrown down on the doubletrees. Just before striking the narrow bridge at the foot of Red hill, the team swerved to the left, striking the approach of the bridge, throwing its occupants madly to the bottom of the chasm, fully ten feet below into darkness.

Mr. Fred Lawrence, Captain of the West Denver High School Cadets, dispatched Frank French, driver of the first wagon, posthaste to Morrison for assistance. He drove directly to the livery stable of Abbo & Lewis and made inquiries where a physician could be found. Dr. F. L. Luce was immediately notified and accompanied by John Kirby (who drove team to the scene of the tragedy). James Abbo, Charles Cochran, and several others went full speed to the aid of the ill-fated party. On arrival at the place of the heart-sickening scene, Dr. Luce hastened to make examinations and immediately temporarily fixed them up and they were loaded on the wagon and brought to town.

Upon arriving in town they were taken to the Cliff House and other places, where Dr. Luce was joined by Dr. Haxby and they both used every effort and did all possible to alleviate the sufferings of the unfortunate victims. Quickly, but tenderly, the broken bones were placed in position and the dreadful cuts were sown together, though the room resembled in a manner the rude hospital of a battlefield, and the sufferings and moans were pitiful in the extreme. It was noted by all, that the kindness of the Morrison people was exemplified by the tenderness in which they handled and cared for every want and request made to them.

At the Cliff House Miss Edith Withers, who seemed to be the most seriously injured, was carried into the sitting room where Dr. Luce bent over the prostrate form and felt the feeble pulses for a sign of life. One moment it flickered and then silently she passed to the other world. A shake of the head from the surgeon announced that the first victim of the dread occurrence had joined the great majority.

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