Mr. Richard Davis has researched the Bussey Bridge Disaster, and wrote this account of the famous train wreck:
"What was described at the time was first major railroad disaster in America and brought Roslindale nationwide attention occurred on March 14, 1887, when the bridge spanning South and Bussey Streets collapsed when a train bound for Boston hurled nine passengers cars over a granite abutment into a 75-foot opening caused by the collapse of the bridge. Of the 23 killed and 115 injured, 50 percent were Roslindale commuters on the way to work in Boston.
"Considered extremely modern, the bridge was constructed of iron and steel and had replaced the original Howe truss 'Tin Bridge' in 1870. The lawsuits resulting from the accident nearly bankrupted the Boston Providence Railroad. After making tests of wreckage parts at Watertown Arsenal, experts fixed the cause of the collapse on faulty welding in the hangers of the iron truss on the western side of the bridge, which had to support four-fifths of the weight of a passing train.
"A direct result of the disaster was the removal or rebuilding of hundreds of iron railroad bridges all over America. Until Bussey Bridge taught them a lesson, bridge builders of the day had failed to realize that constant vibration weakens iron structures.
"The disaster, however, started a new growth in Roslindale. Hundreds were attracted to the scene over a considerable period of time, and they discovered a beautiful community in the country. From then on Roslindale and West Roxbury started to grow in new homes and population, attracting people from all sections of Boston."
[An excerpt from A History of Roslindale by the Roslindale Historical Society]