Henry H. Bliss
On September 13, 1899 he was disembarking from a streetcar at West 74th Street and Central Park West in New York City, when an electric-powered taxicab (Automobile No. 43) struck him and crushed his head and chest. He died from his injuries the next morning.
Arthur Smith, the driver of the taxicab, was arrested and charged with manslaughter but was acquitted on the grounds that he had no malice, nor was he negligent.
The passenger, Dr. David Edson, was the son of former New York City mayor Franklin Edson.
A plaque was dedicated at the site on September 13, 1999, to commemorate the centenary of this event. 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.[note 1] 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 ceremony was attended by his great-granddaughter, who placed roses on the place where Bliss was struck.
- In this context "Western Hemisphere" means "The half of the earth comprising North and South America and surrounding waters."
- Fatally hurt by automobile, New York Times article, September 14, 1899.