Wednesday 13th September 1899
The first American automobile fatality resulted when Henry H Bliss was run over as he alighted from a streetcar at West 74th Street and Central Park West in New York. Bliss, 68, was taken to hospital, where he died. The driver, Arthur Smith was arrested and held on $1,000 bail. 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. 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.