It was on this date in 1896 that the Crush Train Wreck was staged!

You're an agent for the railroad who has to junk a few steam locomotives. Being a guy he thought, 'Why don't we crash them together and sell tickets?', and the first event of it's kind was staged!

Public Domain

Crush, Texas, was a temporary "city" established as a one-day publicity stunt in 1896. William George Crush, general passenger agent of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (popularly known as the Katy), conceived the idea to demonstrate a train wreck as a spectacle. No admission was charged, and train fares to the crash site were at the reduced rate of $2 from any location in Texas. As a result about 40,000 people showed up on September 15, 1896, making the new town of Crush, Texas, temporarily the second-largest city in the state. - Wikipedia

Public Domain
Public Domain

Unexpectedly, the impact caused both engine boilers to explode. Debris—some pieces as large as half a drive-wheel—was blown hundreds of feet into the air. Some came down among the spectators, killing three and injuring many more. Event photographer Jarvis "Joe" Deane lost one eye to a flying bolt.

The railroad was so upset that they fired Crush on the spot...until the next day when the cash proceeds were counted and he was rehired.

Now you know where the phrase--a hundred years before celebrity meltdowns--'Like watching a train wreck!', was born!