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.
- Related Investigation Cemetery Alarm Was this explosive device used to stop a morbid black market trade?
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- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Suffrage Pennant What can this pennant tell us about one woman's role at a crucial point in Women's Suffrage movement?
- Also with Gwen Wright Monroe Letter Does this letter link America's President to the high seas piracy of U.S. merchant ships in the early 1800s?
- Also with Gwen Wright Chinese Poems Who were the authors of the poems describing bitterness and misery on the Angel Island detention center walls?
- Also in this episode Stalag 17 Portrait What happened to the artist of this portrait made in a German POW camp?
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