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Here's what a Vancouver car accident scene looked like over a century ago

It really drew a crowd

Traffic accidents are an everyday occurrence in Vancouver these days.

In fact, they've been an everyday occurrence for decades with hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the road each day.

However, over 100 years ago it would have been a rare sight to see a wrecked vehicle in the street. The first automobile only arrived in 1899 and it would be a couple of decades before most households owned a car.

So when they did happen, as is the case with this wreck at the south end of the Granville Street Bridge (an earlier version than today's huge structure), they tended to draw a crowd.

In this case, it's unclear what kind of vehicle had an accident, though it appears to be a single-vehicle accident. It also seems to be an older vehicle, given the nature of the wheels, with what appear to be wooden wheels instead of rubber tires. Rubber tires would have been around for a while already, but weren't the only game in town.

The vehicle also has a cable attached to it, and streetcars ran on that section of Granville Street at the time, but the wheels don't look much like a rail wheel. It could be the cable was used to move the wreck, since tow trucks didn't exist at the time. 

We don't know the precise date of the crash, since the archival photos only have estimates (two say "190-?" and two say "191-?").

While that may mean these are two different accidents in the same place, it appears to be the same one given the angle of the vehicle (in one, number 1022.1 it may have been shifted as crews cleared up). It appears the same fire engine is in the same place in three of the four images.

Larger versions of the photos can be found on the City of Vancouver Archives website.