Fatal accidents spurred railroad to build Dixie Highway viaduct

Five Lives Snuffed out at “Death Angle” Crossing, Heights Residents, on way to Chicago, Victims of Revolting Accident at the Homewood I.C. Crossing, Automobile is Hit by Two Fast Trains, Four of Party Die Instantly, One Lives but for a Few Hours, Heavy Fog Obscures View of Crossing where there have been Eight Fatalities in a Year…
 
  The Dixie Highway under 
  construction in 1922.
(Photo 
  provided by the Homewood 
  Historical Society)
 
This is the headline that streamed atop the front-page of the Chicago Heights Star newspaper chronicling a disastrous auto-train accident, which occurred New Years Eve morning 1919. 

The collision, which claimed five lives, was the last of several fatal incidents at the same crossing that happened in 1919 alone. 

These accidents served as the catalyst for the decision to eliminate all grade rail crossings along the Illinois Central line between downtown Chicago and Matteson-Richton.
 
The growing population along the rail line and the increasing use of the automobile at the time led to more fatal accidents at these crossings. Prior to the construction of the viaduct, the Dixie Highway crossed the rail tracks at grade and on an angle near the Maple Road intersection on the west side of the tracks in Homewood.

Fatal accidents there had become quite numerous over the years earning the intersection the apt name of “the death angle.” These accidents occurred despite the fact that a flagman was usually stationed there to stop traffic when trains approached. 
 
The Dixie Highway "subway," or viaduct as we know it, was completed in the fall of 1922. 
 
Since then, thousands of vehicles have passed safely through the viaduct each day. Although plagued by flooding during heavy rains through the years and now beginning to show its age, the viaduct has fortunately lived up to the intent of providing for the safety of motorists. 

There have been no collisions involving trains and automobiles in Homewood since it was completed almost a century ago. 


 

About Us

A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.

Letters

Do you have something to say? If you want to inform the community about events, issues, recognitions, concerns, etc., write a letter. 

Send a letter

Correction suggestions

If you see a mistake in The Chronicle, whether it's a typo, a misspelling or an error of fact, please let us know. Our goal is to provide reliable, accurate stories, and if we miss a detail, we want to fix it fast.

Submit correction

Contact Us

A great community makes a great newspaper. We want to hear from you with news tips, story ideas, your photos and accounts of events, corrections, problems, suggestions, etc. Call or write the editors
Eric Crump at [email protected] or 630-728-2661
Marilyn Thomas at [email protected]
Tom Houlihan at [email protected]

For advertising, distribution or general business inquiries, contact Eric Crump at [email protected] or 630-728-2661.

Postal address:
The HF Chronicle
P.O. Box 461
Flossmoor, IL 60422