On June 24, 1882, one of the most disastrous railroad wrecks in Kandiyohi County’s history took place here. The train left Willmar to travel to Grove City gravel yards with 45-50 men on board. Two and a half miles west of Atwater the train’s tender jumped the track due to the heavy grade and fast speed. As the train approached a curve in the track, the engine derailed and rolled down an embankment into a slough. People from Willmar and Atwater came to the aid of the train crash victims. A total of thirteen men were killed and nineteen injured. The county coroner, district attorney and a jury investigated the crash. The jury found the crash was caused by the reckless manner the train was run and the negligence of St. Paul Minneapolis and Manitoba Railroad Company in establishing a speed for gravel trains. A mass grave of the victims is in Fairview Cemetery at Willmar.
Where: This marker is located 3 miles west of Atwater on US 12, then .5 miles south on Country Road 4.
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