Thursday, January 5, 2017

Massacre Mile – 1967

Ever since motorists began taking to the roads in great numbers, various stretches of the nation’s highways have received nicknames that reflect the amount of tragic accidents that occurred there.

The original route of the famed U. S. Route 66 through the Devil’s Elbow area of the Ozarks was known as “Bloody 66.” Closer to home in Ohio, Cleveland still has its “Dead Man’s Curve” – the I-90 Innerbelt Curve just east of Downtown, mentioned daily on traffic reports.

And Lorain has its “Massacre Mile,” that curved portion of Leavitt Road just south of Jaeger Road.

That’s the subject of the article below, which ran in the Lorain Journal on Wednesday, January 4, 1967. At that time, it had been a little more than a year since Leavitt Road was widened to four lanes from W. 21st Street to North Ridge Road. But already there was a need for something to be done about the growing problem of automobile accidents there.

Leavitt Rd. Residents Cringe in Fear
‘Massacre Mile’ on New Highway
Target of Lorain Council Action

Staff Writer

PEOPLE WHO LIVE along the stretch of Leavitt Road between Jaeger Road and SR 254 call it “Massacre Mile.”

“They’re afraid to sit in their living rooms at night or go to bed,” Eight Ward Councilman Fred Ritenauer said at a council meeting last night.

That section of the highway, which includes a sweeping curve, has been the scene of numerous accidents – some of them fatal. Residents claim that only trees stand between them and cars hurtling off the highway toward their homes.


But Massacre Mile or dragstrip, something has to be done about it, Ritenauer said.

He proposed a three-point program, in the form of a motion, that was adopted last night by council.

He called for:

–Reducing the speed limit on the curve to 35 miles an hour. Last year it was boosted to 50 miles an hour and that city police and highway patrolmen jointly participate in radar enforcements.

–GUIDE RAILS RE-INSTALLED on the curve to prevent cars from swerving out of control and into any homes.

–City Electrician Arthur Manichl to install flashing signs warning that the curve is a high accident area and the speed limit is 35 miles an hour.

RITENAUER SAID some of the biggest violators are drivers who use that stretch of highway every day. Councilman William Parker suggested that it be left up to police to decide whether the speed limit should be reduced.

Ritenauer claimed drivers tend to drive faster than the posted speed limit. If it’s 50 miles an hour they tend to go 70 miles an hour. If it’s 35 miles an hour, they might not travel as fast.

He also pointed to legislation sent to police and fire committee last night that would increase to $1,000 and year in jail the penalty for a drag-racing conviction. Presently, the maximum fine is $500 and six months in jail.

Massacre Mile was just as bloody as ever and still a concern to its Leavitt Road residents in 1976, as explained in this later article, which ran in the Journal on August 27, 1976.

Today, the speed limit along that stretch is a pretty reasonable 40 miles per hour – and traffic seems to abide by it. But I still think of the ‘Massacre Mile’ designation every time I drive through there.

A view of “Massacre Mile” from last weekend

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