The Kinetic South

The Explosion, Crush, Texas, September 15, 1896. Photograph by Jervis C. Deane, from the Texas Collection, Baylor University. All images from the Texas Collection at Baylor University unless otherwise noted.

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The Kinetic South

by Alex Hofmann
Southern Cultures, Vol. 27, No. 2: Built/Unbuilt

“Waco teemed with motion for motion’s sake, which white residents touted, performed, and guarded as a racialized privilege.”

It was not supposed to end like this. On September 15, 1896, “Crush, Texas,” was supposed to be just another kinetic spectacle in a place replete with them. The name was a double entendre, both a cheeky allusion to the staged head-on train collision scheduled to take place there and an eponym for William G. Crush, the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad general passenger and ticket agent who devised it.