1926 - Grandstand Crash Injures 235 Persons. Shenandoah Investigating Board Finds Disaster Unavoidable. Woman Killed In Plunge Off Building Top. Police Prevent Panic as News of Accident Spreads. Frenzied Horse Hurts Two In Wild Scramble.
Improvised Beds Secured for Great Number of Victims
Pasadena, Jan 1.-(AP)-A day of roses and joy ended in tragedy for 235 persons who were precipitated into a tangled mass of wreckage when a temporary private grandstand collapsed during the parade of the tournament of roses here today. More than 30 cases of serious injuries were treated in the operating room of the Pasadena hospital and 200 others received treatment. Of these, 100 left after first aid and went their homes.
A few blocks distant from the scene of the tragedy, a woman fell from the top of a building while viewing the parade and was killed.
As the miles-long pageant neared its end, a frenzied big black horse, throwing its rider from the line of parade, crashed through the crowd and seriously injured two women.
The collapse of the stands came without warning. Witnesses said it started to sway with a groaning noise and a moment later collapsed completely, throwing its human load of nearly 500 persons into a tangled mass below. Great confusion reigned for several moments until the cooler heads in the crowd organized the rescue. The parade was halted temporarily and a general call was sent out for ambulances.
In the meantime every form of conveyance in the vicinity was impressed into service and the injured started toward the reception hospital. Streets near the line of parade had been roped off and automobiles were not allowed to enter them.
Church As Hospital
As a result, but a few cars could be had at first to convey the injured persons. The First Presbyterian Church, across the street, was thrown open and a large number of injured were given first aid by physicians called from the crowd. At the receiving hospital where but 10 or 12 persons could be treated at one time, it was necessary to divert the cars to the Pasadena hospital, the only institution of its kind in Pasadena. Calls for aid were sent to Los Angeles and nearby towns and ambulances were soon forthcoming with physicians and nurses.
Children, Women Hurt
At the Pasadena hospital where accommodations for such a large number of patients were not available, a truck was sent to a furniture house for mattresses and within half an hour the halls of the hospital were covered with injured person lying on the improvised beds. A large portion of the injured were elderly women and children who had been given the preference of the best seats.
One of the greatest throngs that ever witnessed a tournament of roses parade turned out and many temporary stands were erected on vacant lots and on front lawns in which seats were sold to those who wanted the best possible view.
Police Prevent Panic
Of those injured many were from other towns and cities. It was virtually impossible to secure an accurate check of all the victims, many of whom were taken directly to Los Angeles when it was evident that the hospital facilities here were overtaxed.
W.F. Vall, general manager of the Pasadena hospital took personal charge of arrangements and called in his entire staff of nurses and assistants, many of whom were witnessing the parade. A motorcycle officer was dispatched down the line of parade calling for doctors and within an hour or so, scores of physicians were at the hospital.
When word of the accident spread thousands of persons swarmed toward the hospital and it took the efforts of many police officers to prevent a panic being stage anxious for the safety of relatives and friends.
Mrs. Caroline Sherman, 35, [illegible] Beach, Cal., died from the shock of witnessing the spectacle. She was not in the grandstand, but watched it collapse from a distance away. She died within an hour of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Mrs. C.E. Dixon, who [illegible] internal injuries and Mrs. Lucinda Crown, who has a fractured skull, both residents of Los Angeles, are not expected to live.
An immediate investigation of the accident was launched by officials of Pasadena. M.B. Cole, chairman of the board of directors, chief executive of the city, said that the first formal hearing may be held tomorrow.
Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 1. - (AP)-The list of dead and partial list of out-of-town injured in the grandstand collapse and other accidents here today follows:
Mrs. C.W. Brown of Pasadena, killed in a fall from two-story building while watching parade.
Mrs. Montague Glass, Pasadena, wife of Montague Glass, author, injuries.
Mrs. C.O. Harris, Redlands, California, bruises.
Mrs. W.W. Scott, San Luis [illegible] California, leg and arm fractured.
Mrs. C.E. Smith, Claremont, California, shoulder sprained and head bruises.
C. Smith, Claremont, sprained back.
Nevada State Journal
January 2, 1926
Visit Pasadena, California, USA
Discover the people who lived there, the places they visited and the stories they shared.