Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tragedy at the Tracks--1950

In the summer of 1950, three paperboys, Philip Pagett, Duane Whipple, and Chuck Vogt were riding their bikes on South Audubon Road near East Washington Street when they heard the train whistle for the Pennsylvania Railroad.  The boys were in route to the commercial area in the 200 block of South Audubon Road to pick up the Saturday edition of the Indianapolis Times.  Sixteen-year-old Philip Pagett called out to his younger friends to speed up so they could race the train.  Both Duane Whipple and Chuck Vogt, who were in the eighth grade at School #85, made the decision not to race the train.  Philip Pagett, a sophomore at Howe High School, thought he could do it.  He soared ahead of the boys and at full speed tried to fly over the tracks in the 200 block of South Audubon Road. Tragically, he never made it.  The other boys still about a block back watched in horror as the train struck and killed Phil.  Needless to say, his family was devastated and the neighborhood was shocked.  Mrs. Pagett was a well-known teacher and local artist. The Irvington Historical Society now displays some of her work.

Tragic Site:  Philip Pagett died while trying to outrace a train on his bike in the 200 block of South Audubon Road in the summer of 1950.

Washington Park Cemetery

East side of the 200 block of South Audubon in April of 2013

About a month after the accident, Chuck Vogt returned to the scene and took this photo of the area where young Phil lost his life.  The picture is particularly eerie because another photo has bled onto the negative and produced the ghost-like images on this picture.  The tracks are now gone and the building with the gabled roof is no longer standing.  Philip Pagett is buried in Washington Park Cemetery.  He would have been 80 years old if he were still alive today.

The historic image is courtesy of Chuck Vogt.  The information for this story is courtesy of Chuck Vogt and Larry Muncie.  The photo of the tombstone is courtesy of Larry Muncie.  A contemporary image shows the same view in April of 2013.

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