Deadly Fumes On Coyle

West Coyle Avenue is a lovely residential street just a couple of blocks south of Indian Boundary Park in the West Ridge neighborhood of Chicago. On November 25, 1957, it was also the site of a tragedy.  It happened right behind this house.


Chicago Daily Tribune, Nov 26, 1957


Found After a Date; Fumes Blamed

EXECUTIVE AND A GIRL FRIEND DIE IN GARAGE Found After a Date Fumes BlamedThe bodies of a young couple who apparently died of carbon monoxide poisoning were found yesterday in a garage at the rear of 2440 Coyle av.

The victims were Robert Cornell, 26, of 2445 Lunt av., son of a manufacturer, and Miss Alice Graham, 22, of 2426 Lunt av., a Niles Township High school Spanish teacher. Police said the deaths were apparently accidental.

Ignition Turned On

Cornell's keys were found in the car with the ignition turned on and the gasoline tank empty. His body was on the front seat of the car and Miss Graham's was on the garage floor.

Detective Thomas Tobin said the young woman was evidently trying to reach one of the closed garage doors when she collapsed.

Cornell was a vice president, a director, and sales manager of the American Mill Supply company and American Leather Belting company. His father, Earl, is president of both firms.

Sister Finds Bodies

Police said young Cornell rented the garage for the storage of a company car. Police said the couple went out on a date Sunday afternoon. They had dated four or five times previously. The bodies were found by Cornell's sister, Mrs. Patricia Alpert, 2350 Fitch av., who went to the garage after their mother, Mary, noticed her son had not returned home.

An inquest will be held at 9:30 a.m. today in the chapel at 5501 N. Ashland av.

Miss Graham was graduated from Indiana university. Her parents live in Indianapolis. Cornell attended St. John's Military academy, Lake Forest academy, and Northwestern university.

In response to suspicions of suicide, Miss Graham's roommate, Miss Louise Moran, testified at the inquest that she had introduced the couple and both were "happy and had everything to live for." (Chicago Daily Tribune, November 27, 1957)

I can't imagine what they were doing in that garage that could have caused them to forget that the car was still running?  I guess it must have been cold that day...  Oh yeah, it was pretty nippy:

Chicago IL 60646 Weather History for November 25th 1957

In any event, here are some photos of the garage where the tragedy occurred:


The garage behind the house.


The side of the garage: it was obviously not ventilated.


The small garage where the lovebirds asphyxiated.

One Response to “Deadly Fumes On Coyle”

  • Magnoire Says:

    Some people run generators in the house after hurricanes. It’s so the generators won’t be stolen but of course, the people in the house get gassed.

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