|February 17, 1882
||Jackson Pyrotechnical Explosion
8 Firemen killed
|July 4, 1897
||Helen VanRiper killed in a tragic fireworks accident
|February 1, 1902
||Mark W. Allen, Jr.,
first Chester Police Officer killed in the line of duty attempting to resolve a
|April 10, 1917
|September 10, 1921
||Collapse of the Third Street Bridge
Article contributed by Louis J.
|February 4, 1932
||Explosion of the Sun Oil
tanker M.S. Bidwell at the Sinclair Dock
Marcus Hook, PA
the night Feb. 4,1932 at 12:30 am. the M.S. Bidwell an oil tanker belonging to the Sun Oil
Company In Marcus Hook, Pa. exploded and burned at the Sinclair Dock. Seventeen men aboard
were killed including the Captain, Joseph Rivers of Hollis, New York. His wife Viola
Rivers aboard at the time was injured and rescued from the frigid waters of the Delaware
River by Edward J. Cartain of Chester who swam to her
resue. He was employed at Sinclair
Refining and subsequently awarded the Carnegie medal for heroism. The
Captain's Wife Viola Rivers, was treated at Chester
Hospital and subsequently relocated to Chester. Several of the deceased were
from Chester, others from Linwood, Pa. and Philadelphia. A little known fact is that the
second mate, 33 years of age from New York, was the natural father of Veronica Lake the
hollywood actress. The Bidwell survived another 31 years and was torpedoed once during
WW2. After logging 2 million miles it was sold to the Greek Government. The last Master
was Captain Fredrick Burgess. Two sons of the late Captain Rivers, both served on the
Bidwell as merchant seamen before its demise."
- Harold Rivers (Son of Capt.
& Explosions at Sun Oil Company
A first-hand account excerpted from
the Autobiography of Everett S. Snyder, Lewis, DE
Destroys Southern Penn Bus Barn
(Photos courtesy of Andrew
Atkinson, from his Great Grandmother, Rae Hopman's collection.)
|November 6, 1948
Warfel has written a very
comprehensive account of the 1948 Market Street massacre as he recalls the events of that
day. At the time Lou was working in the Buten Paint Store at 624 Edgmont Ave.
recollection of the Market Street Massacre by Lou Warfel.
picture (c. 1900) of the building where the shooter was.
* * *
"I don't remember too many of the
details, but there was the Market Street Massacre in 1948. 7 or 8 people shot and killed
including a Chester detective."
* * *
"I was talking to two older gentleman on my job
recently and they told me that the man who did the shooting in 1948 last name was Collins
and that he was a former veteran who had gotten medals for his marksmanship. The story was
that he had played the "street" numbers at the time and hit for a large amount
of money, and the numbers guy refused to pay. He then went on a rampage. One of the people
shot was the "uncle" of one of the older guys whom was telling me about
the event... that his uncle stuck his head out of the nearby bar to find out what all the
noice was about and got shot right through the head. If you get any other info I would be
17, 1949 - 1
Stein Auto Parts Store Fire
||Eyre Park Flood
"...the Eyre Park flood in 1950 or early 1951,
which caused the evacuation of the entire area, up to the Chester hospital site and caused
substantial damage. I believe that was what precipitated changes by the corps of
engineers, ultimately causing the later flood in 1971. The water was up to the ninth
street bridge and people were evacuated by row boats. I don't think there were any
fatalities, although some of the older people were hospitalized."
E. H. "Ted" van
|June 6, 1951 - 1
||Fire destroys Tollins' Furniture Store
The store was rebuilt and reopened by November 1951.
14, 1952 - 1
Credit Clothing Store fire
27, 1955 - 1
Hose Co. - Moyamensing Fire Co. Pumper Collision
"At the corner of 5th St. & Edgmont Ave. They were answering an alarm at 3rd & Penn St. which turned out to be a false alarm."
29, 1956 - 1
destroys Second Presbyterian Church
21, 1958 - 1
at Good Will Fire Co. No. 2 Fire House
1959 - 1
Paper Co. warehouse fire
|c. 1957, 1958 or 1959
||Small airplane crashed
on the PMC baseball field
16th & Melrose Ave.
"I was an eyewitness to this tragic accident. It happened in 1957-1958. I was only 8 years old when I lived at 857 E 14th Street. I had gone outside to play when I heard a whining noise and looked up to see a small plane doing a nose dive while spinning. At first because I was just a kid I thought it must have been some kind of stunt because it looked like leaflets falling to the ground. Little did I know that it was pieces of the plane breaking apart. When the plane hit the ground it literally shook the ground 3 blocks away. I was one of the first to get to the scene which was the PMC football field and pretty close to the stands. There was not much left to the plane which hit the ground nose first and crumpled like an accordion. That picture image has always stayed in my mind. My parents moved to E14th St when I was 7 and I did not move until 1970 at the age of 18. I do not recall another plane crash inside the PMC football since that one in 1957-1958."
- Natalie (Podryhula) Klotsche
Thanks also to Gary
22, 1960 - 1
at Upland Warehouse, Borough of Upland
|December 11, 1960
||Fire at Eddystone High School
3, 1963 - 1
C. Boyle Fire
"John Boyle was a CPA/accounting firm and also a direct mailing business he established for his son Jack Boyle. The fire actually started at 514 Market St., Boyles was in the rear of it at 517-519 Edgmont Ave. (with their office fronting on Edgmont Ave). Other business effected was Rands, 516 Market and approximately 13 apartments above the
businesses." - 1
Plane crashes on field at PMC
"I was attending Widener
then and my father and I were going to a Father/Son Dinner. We got out
of the car and as we walked toward the college there was a Cessna nose
first on the football field. It was, I believe a Cessna 172. It was on
the football field, not the baseball field, on the opposite side of the
campus (opposite end from the current library). It was in I believe the
spring of 1963. I was a Sophomore."
1966 - 1
at 223-225 W. 3rd St.
|January 9, 1968
||Fire destroys Chester
taken the following day, courtesy of Gloria
17, 1969 - 1
Will Fire Co. ladder truck accident
"Good Will's ladder truck was answering an alarm at 7th & Upland Sts. As
it approached 9th & Upland a PMC cadet was waving the truck through the intersection and a car going west on 9th St. did not stop and the truck struck the car broad side pushing it into the side wall of
Clancy's Funeral Home.
Normally Good Will would not have responded but Moyamensing ladder truck had responded to another call earlier. I was on the front passenger seat of the ladder truck when the accident occurred."
27, 1970 - 1
Steel Casting Co. Fire
20, 21, 1971
||Fire Destroys the Great Leopard Skating Rink
County Daily Times coverage and photo by Walt Chernokal - Wednesday April
|September, 13 1971
||Floods destroy Eyre Park
"One of my Classmates lost his life trying to save people in Toby Farms. There is a memorial for him at the entrance. His name was Ralph Worrilow. During that Hurricane all the creeks had overflowed. The bridges over Bridgewater Road, Dutton Mill Road and Pennell Road were completely destroyed. Some sections of Pennell Road were washed away. The Lumber Company, which is now known as Kings something or other, was completely flooded. The house on Dutton Mills and Creek Road was flooded and it sits up high. A lot of businesses were either destroyed or damaged. My husband and I took a ride around looking at everything and I had never seen such devastation in all the years I lived in Delaware County."
Pictures of the Flood and damages in Eyre
Park courtesy of Tom Dewey:
Page 1 | Page
2 | Page 3
31, 1975 - 1
Tanker Fire, Marcus Hook
"The BP Oil fire was I think about the largest conflagration that we have had in Delaware County. Just about every county fire company along with some New Castle County, DE companies participated in some way."
1976 - 1
Laundry Co. Fire
|February 2, 1978
at the foot of Flower Street
Chester firefighters and other emergency workers were involved.
Many Chester firefighters were injured; those who
survived have had health problems since.
In April 2000 the Philadelphia Inquirer did an 8-part
series about the Wade Site Fire. Thanks to Jason Birney
for passing along the following link
to these stories, photographs and bios of many who were involved:
29, 1984 - 1
"Located on 7th Street just west of Avenue of the States
(formerly Edgmont Ave). Years ago the YMCA was on the corner of 7th & Edgmont Ave. just behind the YMCA on 7th St. was an alley that went from 7th to 8th St. The apartment bldg. was on the corner of the alley and 7th St.)"
||A tornado caused over $1
million dollars in damages
along Crosby St. between 6th & 7th.
1990 - 1
at 6th & Sproul Streets
Destroys Octagonal Barn at Linvilla Orchards
The barn was built in 1889.
Many thanks to the following for supplying additional information for
1 - Bill Crystle
(dates from Chester Times & Delaware County Daily Times newspaper
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