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Cursed Streetcar: The Tragic Story of Levin Ward and the Georgetown and Tennallytown Electric Railroad

Horse car in Washington, D.C. at Wisconsin and O St. NW (1889)
Read the tragic story of Levin Ward, a 65-year-old soldier from Tennallytown struck by the Georgetown and Tennallytown Electric Railroad's Car No. 9. See his 1880 U.S. Census entry and learn why this streetcar was cursed.
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Horse car in Washington, D.C. at Wisconsin and O St. NW (1889)
Horse car in Washington, D.C. at Wisconsin and O St. NW (1889)

Here is a crazy story from Tennallytown that we found in The Washington Post, printed on November 8th, 1896.

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November 8th, 1896
November 8th, 1896

A serious accident happened at Tennallytown about 7 o’clock yesterday evening. Car No. 9, of the Georgetown and Tennallytown Electric Railroad ran over Levin Ward, a soldier, about sixty-five years of age, who is a resident of that suburb. The accident happened about 100 feet from Grant road, toward Washington. The car was bowling along at a good rate of speed, when the motorman saw a many lying on the track. His body was partly hidden in the tall grass growing by the side of the track, but both his legs projected over the rails. An effort was made to stop the car, but it was too late, and the car passed over the man’s legs just above the ankles, badly mutilating and crushing them. The injured man was recognized by some one on the car, and after a hurried consultation with Dr. Slaymaker, of Tennallytown, who administer [sic] stimulants, it was decided to bring Ward to the city on the same car that struck him. A telephone message was sent in to the Seventh Precinct station asking the officers to have the patrol wagon ready to meet the car, and within a very short time of the accident occurred, the victim was under treatment at the Emergency Hospital. After consultation it was decided that neither limb could be saved, and Dr. Van Rensselaer amputated both legs just above the ankles. It is not thought that Ward can survive the shock to his system on account of his advanced age. At a late hour last night he was resting easy.

Ward was until recently an inmate of the Soldiers’ Home, but a little over a year ago he left that institution, and has since then been living with his son-in-law, George Wise, a milkman, who lives between Tennallytown and Chevy Chase. He has other relatives in Maryland, and it has been his habit to spend a few weeks at each place. He has been employed as one of the assistant gardeners at the White House for the past year, and has been considered a competent and faithful workman.

The car was in charge of Conductor Loughborough, with Motorman Clark controlling the current. By a peculiar coincidence, this same car, No. 9, has been in a number of similar accidents in the past two or three years. It is the same car that some weeks ago ran over little Ruby Kline on High street hill, near Q street, and injured her so that one leg had to be amputated. The car also ran over little Temple Belt two years ago on High street, and a little while before that struck and killed Harry King. Several weeks ago it plunged on a mad rush down High street hill and struck a cart of bricks at the bottom. Although it demolished the cart and buried two mules under the debris, no one was hurt, and the mules themselves escaped serious injury.

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What a cursed streetcar! Stay away from No. 9. Here is Levin’s entry in the 1880 U.S. Census, while he was living at the Soldiers’ Home.

Levin Ward 1880 U.S. Census
Levin Ward 1880 U.S. Census

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