Thousands of Houstonians crowded the Grand Central Depot at Washington Avenue the night of Nov. 18, 1915, to get a glimpse of the Liberty Bell, which was on tour at the time.
The bell was scheduled to arrive in Houston by 10 p.m. But larger-than-expected crowds in Dallas delayed the bell’s arrival in Houston by a few hours.
Apparently, the bell was carried on a rail car through Dallas streets. But one sharp curve was encountered and the car left the track, the Houston Chronicle reported. The bell was already late reaching Dallas, and that mishap increased the delay by another two hours.
So Houstonians waited. By midnight, the crowd began to disperse.
They didn’t stay away for long.
“It seemed as if hundreds had set alarm clocks to arouse them out of their slumber about 3 o’clock. Fifteen minutes later a veritable parade of automobiles and taxicabs, at times three blocks long, pulled up in front of the Grand Central Depot. The occupants made a dash for the gates and the crowds kept coming and going the whole time the bell was on exhibition,” the Chronicle reported.
Ceremonies to honor the bell’s arrival were scrapped. H.F. MacGregor, Texas delegate to the Republican National Convention, was to meet Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Boies Penrose, but the senator was sound asleep on the train carrying the Liberty Bell.