Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I feel like Mark J. Price, the BJ’s “This Place, This Time” excellent writer, should be doing this piece.

It was May 15, 1916. The Crystal Restaurant, in the old Beacon Journal building at Main and Quarry streets in Akron, was crowded with diners at 6:15 p.m.

Franklin Brothers was blasting rock next door to make room for the foundation of the Delaware Building at 137 S. Main Street.

After explosions rattled dishes and glasses, drawing complaints to blasting crews from Crystal owner Gust Serris, two final explosions collapsed the Crystal’s building.

Nine were killed and 22 injured amid the falling glass, brick and steel. There were about 50 in the building when tragedy struck.

The National Guard had to be called in to restrain the crowd of more than 10,000, who impeded ambalances from reaching the victims.

The victims included a waitress who had just moved to Akron and was on the job for only two hours. One diner stepped outside for fresh air, saw the building collapse behind her, crushing her husband William Lawson and 5-year-old daughter Mary still seated at their table.

Thousands attracted to the scene as news spread like wildfire hampered the rescue. Police has to use their clubs to beat a path for stretcher bearers to get to their ambulances. Every ambulance in the city stood in a waiting line on Quarry street.

Police reserves under Chief Durkin and all the downtown fire companies under command of Chief Mertz responded.


Mary Lawson, 5, 486 Woodland ave., at Peoples Hospital.

H. M. Raney, 108 Elinor Terrace, suffocated, at City Hospital.

Mrs. Blanche Kline, 26, Mansfield, broken neck, at City Hospital.

Rev. J. C. Thomas, Cumberland, Md., identified by letters in his pockets, at Peoples Hospital.

Clarence Tompkins, Cincinnati, employed by the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, identified by letter in his pockets, at Peoples Hospital.

Mrs. Mary Gallop, 25, waitress, Cambridge, O., at City Hospital.

Dorothy Kenyon, 20, 313 Rhodes avenue, working for Western Union. Skull fractured. Home, Medina, O., at City Hospital.

Mildred Welday, 20, waitress, Wadsworth, O.

William Lawson, 486 Woodland avenue, engineering department of the B. F. Goodrich Company.

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