Round Rock, Texas, will once again honor the cherished memory of Baylor's Immortal Ten with an updated memorial at the site of the deadly crash.
A downtown Round Rock renovation project will include renaming the Mays Street rail-bridge as the "Immortal Ten Bridge." The bridge is at the location where the tragic Jan. 22, 1927, incident occurred and arcs over the railroad tracks where a train-bus collision took the lives of 10 members of the Baylor men’s basketball team and students on their way to a game against the University of Texas at Austin.
The bridge renovation, which will have added architectural elements to share the story of the Immortal Ten, has an estimated completion date of March 2017. The city currently has a memorial plaque near the site.
"By more prominently memorializing the Immortal Ten at the location where the accident occurred, Round Rock is strengthening the preservation of its history," said Dr. Todd Copeland, BA '90, director of advancement communications and author of The Immortal Ten: The Definitive Account of the 1927 Tragedy and its Legacy at Baylor University. "While the accident was an horrific tragedy that may be painful to remember, it is an important incident in Round Rock’s past because it affected the entire state of Texas and drew coverage from across the nation."
The event had a lasting impact on the University community, Round Rock and transportation across the state and nation.
The tragedy provided the starting point in the long process of developing higher safety standards for travel, making the Immortal Ten one of the main influences for travel today. Laws were enacted to require buses to stop before entering a railroad crossing. The first railroad overpass to safely carry vehicles above trains was constructed at the Round Rock accident site.
On campus, tradition holds that the story and legacy of Baylor's Immortal Ten is shared with freshmen during Mass Meeting, an annual candlelight ceremony at Homecoming. A physical memorial to the Immortal Ten--four statues and a bas relief of the other six--stands in Traditions Plaza near Pat Neff Hall.
The story of the Immortal Ten is a tragedy; but with the renovations taking place in Round Rock, it will be remembered not only for its unifying of the Baylor community, but also for its impact on the history of Round Rock and the State of Texas.