- Helping you drive happy

It happened on September 13th: First American pedestrian killed by a car

By ,

Henry H. Bliss probably would have liked to make history for a different reason. On September 13th, 1899, he became the first known pedestrian to be killed by a car in the U.S. Arthur Smith, the guilty taxi driver, was arrested and charged with manslaughter but later acquitted on the grounds that it was unintentional.

In 1999, a plaque was dedicated at the site to mark the 100th anniversary of the accident. It reads:

“Here at West 74th Street and Central Park West, Henry H. Bliss dismounted from a streetcar and was struck and knocked unconscious by an automobile on the evening of September 13, 1899. When Mr. Bliss, a New York real estate man, died the next morning from his injuries, he became the first recorded motor vehicle fatality in the Western Hemisphere. This sign was erected to remember Mr. Bliss on the centennial of his untimely death and to promote safety on our streets and highways.”

The Western Hemisphere actually includes all land of the hemisphere west of Greenwich, but there were two earlier such deaths. Mary Ward was killed by a steam-powered car in Ireland in 1869, and Bridget Driscoll got hit by a car as she was crossing a street in England with her daughter in 1896.

Source :

Henry H. Bliss
Henry H. Bliss (Photo: Wikipedia)