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Oh My!

For a long time now I have wanted to share this photo my grandmother, Rose Behnke took after this awful train wreck. Mom is the young girl in the front. This accident took place right past where the Behnke’s is located now off of Odell Road. There use to be a crossing and from what my mother told me years ago, people would try to outrun the train. They were sure they could get across and would sometimes actually get out and lift up the crossing sign. I hope that this person just got stuck and jumped out at the last minute. The thing is, this was not the first accident nor the last on the tracks during the years.

It is always amazing for me to look at the photographs from the past. Look at the train! We don’t see those big old steam engines going down US 1 anymore. That was the old B & O that would go by the nursery. Check out the skirts that the women wore back then.  I wonder if my grandfather is in that photo, or my uncles. They say every picture tells a story and this one sure does. What happened to the driver of the car? Was his family in the car? What about the engineer driving the train? What were his thoughts as he saw that car and knew he couldn’t stop in time? Do you ever wonder what the story was behind certain photographs you have from your family?

I have asked my mother if she had any more memories of this day but memories have a way of fading over the years. Today her memories of the train were of the thick black smoke that would bellow out and my grandmother calling her to bring in the laundry, even if it was wet. They sure did not want to do the wash over again.

I would say this photo was in the 40’s. And can you imagine ever getting this close to a train wreck now? People will always be curious and want to get a closer look but every time I look at this photo I think to myself, oh my, they were really close.

by Stephanie Fleming, Behnke’s Vice President

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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