EAST ALTON - The East Alton History Museum and Village of East Alton released a plaque commemorating the Wann Disaster of 1893 Saturday on Main Street in East Alton.
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The unveiling and dedication of the Wann marker was held at 10 a.m. Saturday in East Alton. The accident at what was once known the Wann Junction near what is now Shamrock and Main Streets in East Alton today was the location of a terrible tragedy in 1893 where 35 people died and dozens were injured.
William Furry of the Illinois State Historical Society was on hand for the event. Speakers were East Alton Mayor Joe Silkwood, Kelli Fletcher of the Historical Committee and author/donor Phillip Walkington. Walkington and the Illinois State Historical Society are sponsors of the memorial marker.
The Wann Railroad Disaster was caused by an open switch that allowed an approaching passenger train to collide with an oil-tanker and caused an explosion that sent 7,000 gallons of oil into the air, resulting in what was called "a rain of fire."
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