It’s nothing unusual for someone in Brownwood to crash in to a stationary object, but what could be the cause of all these odd crashes? Just this month a motorist collided with one of the support columns of the Truman Harlow Overpass. After some readers suggested that meth fumes in the air, magnetic fields, hatred for municipal property, or stationary objects that actually move could be the culprit; we are blaming it on the way the city was laid out.
One possible cause of all these collisions is confusion of drivers due to the strange numbering of streets in Brownwood. Did you know that Brownwood has 3 separate 1st streets, none of which meet up? How about 2nd street magically becoming Elizabeth, 3rd becoming Belmeade, 4th becoming Southside, and Magnolia becoming Idlewild. Brownwood roads are bipolar! In most towns, 8th street and 9th street would be side by side, but not in Brownwood. Meet 8 1/2 street. Perhaps whoever laid out this part of town couldn’t count, just misnumbered the streets, or wanted to leave his/her mark on the community by providing drivers with reasons to miss their turns and run in to objects:
Another strange observation in the residential area of Brownwood reveals that streets that parallel one another can in fact intersect. Meet the corner of 11th and 12th! Yes, that’s right, everywhere else the numbered streets parallel each other all through the town, but not in Brownwood:
As if the first two examples didn’t convince you that Brownwood has some street happenings that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, take a look at Mayes Street. Ripley’s Believe it or Not was rumored to have come to Brownwood where they took pictures and declared that downtown Brownwood is home to the ‘world’s shortest city block.’ There have been some challenges to this title, and though we do not know the outcome, there’s no denying the teens in town love to zoom around the little gun store that sits in the middle of a triangle of streets:
Let’s not forget the Burger King Collision of the 1990s:
And last, we shall all remember the most expensive project the city has undertaken to correct the problem of Brownwood drivers hitting stationary objects. In the early 2000s the Bill Monroe Overpass was built to replace the Austin Avenue Underpass. I’m sure anyone over the age of 25 can remember vehicles routinely crashing in to the top of the underpass and getting wedged underneath, causing one of the two most traveled roads in Brownwood to be closed. The overpass did not prevent all accidents though, as a one vehicle wreck occurred in 2011 atop the overpass. Photo courtesy of Brownwood Bulletin:
Historically, Brownwood has been prone to accidents predating the automobile. In 1889, 1907, 1908, and 1912, freight and passenger trains on the Santa Fe and Frisco lines left the tracks and derailed. No other trains were involved. Officials at the time blamed the crashes on ‘spreading tracks’, a phenomena that rarely happens today. While the Examiner is unsure if ‘spreading roads’ are to blame, the ghost of W.W. Chandler wanted to inform us that he was the first person to have a single car accident in Brownwood.
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