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 WWII Patch What is the story behind these patches?
- Related Investigation Stalag 17 Portrait What happened to the artist of this portrait made in a German POW camp?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Rogue Book Who did this book of rogue characters belong to?
- Also in Season 6 1856 Mormon Tale Is this tattered book a true account of female slavery in the old West?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Isleton Tong Was this building a safe haven for persecuted immigrants, or a hub for organized crime?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Cromwell Dixon Plane Fragment What could this faded scrap of fabric tell us about the first pilot to conquer the Continental Divide?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.