Black Tom Shell
A woman in Whitehouse Station, NJ has an explosive artifact in her possession: a large, intact artillery shell, along with a note in her mother's handwriting which reads “Black Tom Explosion of 1914.”
Elaine's mother's record-keeping is off; it was not 1914, but July 30, 1916 when a German spy ring carried out a well-planned set of synchronized explosions on Black Tom Island in New York's harbor, using the United States' own cache of munitions produced to aid Britain and France in World War I.
Two million pounds of exploding ammunition rocked the country as far away as Philadelphia, blew the windows out of nearly every high rise in lower Manhattan, injuring hundreds.
History Detectives determines whether this shell was involved in one of the earliest foreign terrorist attacks on American soil.
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- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Birth Control Box Could this unusual wooden box be an early contraceptive device?
- Also in this episode Front Street Blockhouse Did this unassuming house protect an American colony from attack almost 300 years ago?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Rogue Book Who did this book of rogue characters belong to?
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