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Vertigo58

New London, Texas Explosion 1937

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Vertigo58    18

Heard this on KUHF this morning. A surviver that is now 81 years old started a org to commerate or remember those that lost their lives all those years ago. You have to read/hear to get the full scope of the disaster.

This was when natural gas had NO SCENT. The odor we smell today was added after this horrific event in 1937.

This lady was 10 at the time and says she was to perform a ballet dance with other girls for the PTA but at last minute, parents had moved them to the bigger building because the stage was not large enough for the crowds, hence saving their lives.

Very touching article:

http://www.kuhf.org/site/News2?page=NewsAr...ws_iv_ctrl=1902

http://www.nlse.org/photos.html

(Even worse disaster would follow almost 10 years later at Texas City, Texas (1947).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_London_School_explosion

newlondon.jpg

Edited by Vertigo58

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MidtownCoog    3

Never heard of this. Speaking of the Texas City disaster, my grandfather worked for Dow in Freeport. They were dispatched to Texas City to help out.

He had an entire shoebox full of pictures that he took. I need to get my hands on those and start scanning.

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marmer    68

Yes, this was a VERY big deal. I think it was the worst school tragedy in US history. There was a big article about it in Texas Monthly a year or so ago. The tragedy received worldwide attention, one footnote was that several heads of state, including Chancellor Adolf Hitler, sent telegrams of condolence.

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Vertigo58    18
He had an entire shoebox full of pictures that he took. I need to get my hands on those and start scanning.

If I were you, I would get them like asap and scan to a disk.

Surprising how easily old photos disintegrate or fade ie negatives. We had an elderly relative that passed away recently he had numerous photos of the 1930-40's Austin and Houston places/people/events and his son's just let waste away into shreds of crud. :angry: Wasn't until he died that they even bothered learn he had these buried in a closet. I could have strangled them myself.

I had heard of this event a few years ago but couldnt recall where the heck this city was?

This explains near Tyler (up north).

http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?formt...=Tx&zipcode=

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plumber2    184

The cause of New London school explosion is one of the major questions on the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners test to acquire a license.

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Vertigo58    18
The cause of New London school explosion is one of the major questions on the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners test to acquire a license.

Now that you mentioned it, this reminds me of when we 1st bought our old home, I smelled natural gas in the yard. It was seeping from a cracked gas pipe going around our home. That sure was bad planning because they should have gone around back.

I made a call and they confirmed it was leaking. I saw the guy wrap some kind of surrounding pipe around the old one to correct it. I hope it is fixed? Cannot smell anymore. Good thing nothing happened. I dont kid around with natural gas, ever. :o

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editor    670
Never heard of this. Speaking of the Texas City disaster, my grandfather worked for Dow in Freeport. They were dispatched to Texas City to help out.

He had an entire shoebox full of pictures that he took. I need to get my hands on those and start scanning.

Yes, do scan. Posting them here is one of the best things you can do to preserve those memories and make them accessible to others.

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Vertigo58    18

It was amazing that one of the chaulkboards was found amid the debris intact and I believe it was coincidentally praising the nearby oilfield workers.

3068_359615_t.jpg

http://www.hilliard.ws/nlartic.htm

One boy was going to play hookie that day but his big sis talked him into going to class anyway.

Some say a whole generation was lost that day. -_-

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ssullivan    4

A few months ago I was working at Tyler Junior College. They had a display case in the library showcasing newspapers from some major dates from the early 1930s through the mid 1960s. One of the papers on display was from the day after the New London explosion.

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Vertigo58    18
A few months ago I was working at Tyler Junior College. They had a display case in the library showcasing newspapers from some major dates from the early 1930s through the mid 1960s. One of the papers on display was from the day after the New London explosion.

That's awesome! We down here in Houston, seldom used to hear of or know what Tyler area was known for. Oil drilling seemed to be the draw at least back then. This nostalgia is great.

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pookrat    2
That's awesome! We down here in Houston, seldom used to hear of or know what Tyler area was known for. Oil drilling seemed to be the draw at least back then. This nostalgia is great.

Still is. The Tyler/Overton area is really big on Natural Gas right now. Exploring lots of shale deposits...

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Vertigo58    18
Still is. The Tyler/Overton area is really big on Natural Gas right now. Exploring lots of shale deposits...

Whats really disconcerning is that the children complained of heaches for almost a week. The main gas line ran directly under the whole facade or front of the main building. No idea of the impending doom.

It's no wonder even now as senior citizens they still find it hard to talk about.

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klein    3
You're a regular contributor on wikipedia, eh?

Just a hunch.

No.

Whats really disconcerning is that the children complained of heaches for almost a week. The main gas line ran directly under the whole facade or front of the main building. No idea of the impending doom.

It's no wonder even now as senior citizens they still find it hard to talk about.

There's major gasline underneath Klein High. Could something like this happen there.

Edited by klein

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pookrat    2

Very very unlikely. There are gas line both major and consumer all over South East Texas. Under neighborhoods, malls, all over the place. The lowly consumer just doesn't realize is or notice.

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rallycat    6

Sad topic. My Uncle Louis was one of the teachers killed in the blast. His father was a doctor who went out to help. Great granddad was a man with the intestinal fortitude to amputate part of his own finger but having to identify his son's body was something he took a while to come to grips with. He was a stickler for having all his children along with wives/husbands and grandchildren gather together for the holidays. Somewhere we have originals of the front page of the paper announcing Louis' death.

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FilioScotia    112
Posted (edited)

For ricco67 -  Adolf Hitler - or one of his top aides - really did send a telegram with his condolences. The actual telegram can be seen at the New London Museum. I highly recommend a trip to New London to see this small museum. It's a very moving experience.

 

As for the gas, this disaster happened because natural gas had no odor. It collected in the basement and built up to explosive levels because nobody could smell it. Gov. James Allred called the legislature into special session for the express purpose of passing a law requiring natural gas distributors to "odorize" their gas before sending it to customers. Today we can smell the pungent odor of gas coming from our gas appliances because of the New London disaster. So the likelihood of another explosion like the 1937 disaster is very very small. 

Edited by FilioScotia

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