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October 9, 2014

27 Astonishing Vintage Photos of Car Wrecks in Boston in the 1930s

Throughout the 1930s, the United States contended not only with the Great Depression but also with a nationwide panic surrounding traffic safety. In 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt penned a letter to state governors, imploring them to curtail “the increasing number of deaths and injuries” related to car crashes.

During the precarious decade, Leslie Jones of the Boston Herald-Traveler took hundreds upon hundreds of photographs at the scenes of fender-benders and fatal collisions. As car companies gradually introduced much-needed safety features like hydraulic brakes, it was Jones who scrambled to the sites where people had badly damaged property or in the worst cases, lost their lives.

Ambulance tips over on Stuart Street

Auto accident, 1935

Auto accident, corner of Warren Ave. and W. Canton St., South End

Auto accident in front of Hotel Vendome

Auto accident in South End, 1931

Auto goes into pond, 1938

Auto goes into trench in Peabody Square, 1931

Auto overturned at corner of Radcliffe Street, 1938

Auto wreck, Burlington, Massachusetts, 1931

Auto wreck, Roxbury crossing Columbus Avenue, 1931

Car crushed by trolley - North Hampton and Washington Sts, 1932

Auto hit by train kills two. Belmont, 1933

Car wreck at Charles River, Cambridge, 1933

Fence keeps car from falling, Brookline, 1931

Auto plunges into Fore River drowning 3. Fireboat pulls auto out, 1933

Truck and El Bus collide in South Boston, 1934

Truck hangs by wheel off bridge, 1934

Car and truck collide, Back Bay, 1932

Car goes into trench, 1935

Auto goes out of control and crashes through fence onto B&A Tracks near Greenwich Park, South End, 1934

Mystic River, 1930

Auto hits lamp post at intersection, 1930

Car in stairwell

Car stolen by kids crashes into lawyer's car, killing him, 1935

Auto wreck, South End, 1931

Truck crashes through garage several stories up East Cambridge, 1938

Wreck draws crowd, 1935

(Photos courtesy of the Boston Public Library/ Leslie Jones Collection)


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