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MARCH 18, 1937: Texas Town Loses Entire Generation Of Children In A Single Day.



About two years ago I was reading through a book containing my family genealogy when I came across a side note next to the names of two of my cousins, Pauline and Donald Barrett: "They died in the New London School explosion."

I had discovered references to other tragedy's throughout the book, so this one didn't strike me as unusual at first. I continued reading, and at one point I came across a reference to the event a second time: "They died in the New London School explosion." Now my curiosity was piqued.

I was sitting with my wife, Brandie, and as I read the line I commented, "What kind of explosion could kill two children in a classroom?" I was frustrated because there were no more details given in the book, but as I studied it closer I did notice one thing that seemed a little odd; there was a six year difference in the age of the siblings. Still naïve about the incident, I was wondering why the two were in the same classroom together. I envisioned scenes from, "The little house on the prairie," where the children of all ages attended one class.

I had a thousand questions running through my head, and I thumbed through the book from front to back hoping to find more information on the accident when suddenly it hit me-Google! Ah, yes, the modern answer to all inquiries, questions, and curiosity's.

Feeling a little pessimistic, I went to my computer asking myself, "What are the odds of finding some vague event like this on a search?" I opened the website and began typing in the search box: New London Sc...

Before I could finish typing the word "School", the drop down menu appeared and there it was. I was surprised at how quickly it came up but not nearly as surprised as I was after clicking on the first option.

"Hundreds of children killed!"

"Worst school disaster in US history!"



At approximately 3:17 on that fateful day of March 18, 1937, shop teacher, Lemmie Butler, flipped a switch to an electric sander. The switch threw a spark which ignited a layer of natural gas that had leaked from a gas line. The school had tapped into a run-off line that flowed from the nearby oilfields.Due to the fact that natural gas is odorless, a crawl space approximately 250 feet long had filled with the leaking gas without anyone being aware of it.

Witnesses all said that at the moment of the explosion the entire school elevated off the ground, appearing to float in mid air, and then crashed back to earth. The majority of the school structure collapsed in upon itself turning into a disaster site of concrete rubble and helpless children and adults.

The official death toll from the explosion has been set at 296, but it is agreed upon by most that those numbers are not accurate and that the exact number will probably never be known. There were many families during that time who had moved from far and wide to take advantage of the oil boom. After the accident many of the families moved, taking their lost with them to be buried in their home towns. Many of them had been traumatized, so there were no notifications as to where they had gone or what cemeteries they planned to make arrangements with. It is commonly accepted that the actual number of dead from the explosion stands at well over 300. The number of those accounted for are: 272 children, 16 teachers, and 8 visitors. It is also worthy of note to point out that there were later deaths of rescuers and family members due to lingering injuries, concrete dust inhalation, and suicide.

Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite

Notes of Interest

Walter Cronkite, a young and unknown reporter at that time, was one of the first among hundreds of press members who covered the story. In his later years when asked about the tragedy, he stated that the New London School explosion was the worst non-war disaster that he ever witnessed.

Another significant name attached to the catastrophe was, Adolph Hitler. The German dictator wired a letter of condolence to the United States offering his sympathies.

In the years following the accident laws were passed requiring an odor to be added to natural gas so that in cases of leaks such as occurred at the New London School, the gas could be detected. So today, whenever you smell that classic, rotten egg scent of escaping gas, you know that it is an added odor to help identify the odorless natural gas. This is an act, and a law, that has stemmed from the lost lives of those on that day in March 18, 1937.

The New London School explosion still stands as the worst school disaster in the history of the United States. What information I have given here is a very basic summation of the event accompanied by a few notes of interest related to the accident. My intention for this article is not to provide a detailed account of the disaster, or to attempt to tell the story, but rather to be a memorial to those who lost their lives or whose lives were affected on that terrible day. For the readers benefit I have supplied some photographs, a video, and some links that will provide you with all the particulars of the story, and I truly hope that you do take the time to learn what happened on that terrible day. If you care to examine anything at all that I have added to this article I would suggest that you watch the attached video. It is approximately ten minutes long, but it is very informative, and gives some very heart felt interviews.


Why was I not aware of this?

Prompted by a small note in my family genealogy I had discovered an event that had been world wide news. Needless to say, I spent the next several hours researching websites, watching videos, and making phone calls. I was completely amazed, but most of my amazement came not from the enormity of the story, but by the fact that I had not known about the event. How could it be possible that I had never heard of this catastrophe? Especially since I had family members who died in the accident.

I made a phone call to my Aunt, Joyce (Barrett) Andes, who was a first cousin to Pauline and Donald Barrett who died in the explosion. I thought surely she would know about the accident and be able to tell me about it, but to my surprise she had never heard of it either. She and I were both perplexed and even a little upset that the details of a tragedy this big had never been passed down to us. But more than that, I was becoming a little angry that from all appearances, not only had the family forgotten, but most of the country had as well.

Why has this tragedy escaped our memories?

Considering that the New London School explosion still stands as the worst school disaster in US history, I have questioned why I had never heard of it. Why had none of my immediate family members ever heard of It? Why is it that not one single person that I have mentioned it to has ever heard of the event?

I wondered if it had been forgotten due to a lack of media attention. In today's society we are inundated with news the moment that it takes place, and we are fed a steady stream of updated details 24/7. Due to media coverage we are all familiar with the tragedies that have taken place in schools across the country in the last couple of decades. We are aware of the sad events that occurred at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook. The total number of people lost in those events is 70; less than a quarter of the amount of souls that were lost at New London. I am in no way trying to diminish the tragedy's that took place at those schools, I am only questioning why they are so well known whereas New London has been forgotten by all except the locals in the area. So, was it a lack of media reporting taking place in the 1930s? I can answer my own question; No!

During my research I discovered that the New London School explosion had been reported not just across the US, but across the entire globe. Newspapers around the world told of the horrific event, and leaders from several nations, including Hitler, sent their deepest sympathy to our mourning nation.

Okay, so the forgotten tragedy was not due to poor media coverage. I pondered other reasons why it had been erased from memory. Maybe it was simply because of the amount of time that had elapsed since the accident. After all, at the time I had discovered the record, 74 years had passed.The explosion had been the worst disaster in US history, but it had happened a very long time ago. Could this be the reason it has been forgotten? Again, I will answer my own question. No!

Growing up in the United States of America, there is a famous motto that we all learned as children. It is a motto that reminds us of an event that happened on March 6, 1836; 177 years ago.

"Remember The Alamo"

The New London School explosion occurred 76 years ago. The battle at the Alamo took place 101 years prior. 257 souls were lost in that battle; 39 fewer than was lost at New London School, and none of the victims at the Alamo were children. Once again I want to emphasize that it is not my intention to diminish the memory of those brave men that gave their lives at the Alamo, or of those innocent children and teachers that lost their lives in those senseless school shootings. I pray that we always remember "The Alamo" and that we never forget those poor victims at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook. What it is my intention to do is to bring remembrance back to those men, women, and children who lost their lives because of that terrible day of March 18, 1937.


As time has gone by and I have continued to dig deeper into the history of the event, I believe I have discovered the reason that the story has faded from our memories. Of course there are some underlying reasons for the fading of the story; first there were the ongoing exploits of one, Amelia Earhart, the female pilot who had captured the attention of the world. There was also the Hindenburg disaster, and then there was the ongoing threat of Hitler's Nazi Germany and the fear of another world war. As I mentioned earlier, there had been extensive coverage of the New London School explosion, so it wasn't as if the world had no knowledge of the event, and the other events taking place around the globe were indeed noteworthy enough to capture anyone's attention. But there is one more reason I have discovered; sorrow!


Grief Stricken

Through the course of books that I have read and articles that I researched I have come across one common thread involving survivors, family members, and rescuers; the inability to talk about, think about, or deal with the accident.

My Aunt Joyce called me after successfully contacting a couple of family members who had been connected to the event. She said that every one of them had the same response when she asked them about about the accident; they all said that while growing up, any time the New London School explosion was mentioned, the adults refused to talk about it. One of the family members was a younger sibling of Pauline and Donald, and he stated that even he hardly knew anything about the event because his parents never spoke of it his entire life.

This response that came through my family parallels the accounts of interviews with other family members of the event through their families or witnesses. The media was reporting facts and statistics about the accident, but they were getting no personal interviews with the kin of the victims. Families were so severely traumatized that it was intolerable for them to face the reality of what they had lost and what they had experienced. I have read accounts of parents who completely went mad, and some who even committed suicide. Those who survived the wave of insanity and the lure of darkness fell into such a state of unbearable sorrow that the only way they could survive was to withdraw into themselves so that they could escape pain.

Trying to imagine the grief that the survivors must have endured reminded me of the emotional state of my Uncle Bobby. Uncle Bobby served two terms in Vietnam. He was shot once, and on another occasion stepped on a land-mine which nearly killed him. When he was discharged he moved away and hardly spoke to any of us for what seemed like twenty years. As time has gone by and he has opened up, I have discovered that it was not his injuries that affected his mind; It was what he saw while he was there. In the modern world doctors have diagnosed this as "PTSD" (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD is a common condition suffered by many wartime veterans brought on by being introduced to experiences that the human mind refuses to accept. For the majority of people suffering this affliction the only way they can survive is to erase all the dark memories from their minds. The problem with this approach is that without proper help most of the sufferers not only wipe out the bad, but they also forget much of the good from the past. They withdraw into lonely solitude, and depression.

Honoring Their Memory

The New London School explosion of March 18, 1937, has been largely forgotten, and I believe I can understand why. I can't blame those family's, survivors, and rescuers, who for self preservation, or just because it hurt too damned much to think about it, erased that day from their conscience. I cannot imagine the emotional pain and torment that they must have suffered. What I want to do now is Remember! It has been a couple of generations since the explosion. Only a handful still survive who were there on that fateful day. Time has taken its toll and eased the pain. It is time now for people like myself, descendents, family members, locals in Texas, and writers such as, David M, Brown, Michael Wereschagin, and Ron Rozelle, to honor those who were lost in the explosion. We need to honor them by remembering them. It has been my purpose here to bring to your attention the memory of the souls that were lost on that day. Remember the survivors. Remember the rescuers. Remember the parents and teachers that were lost. Remember those 272 children whose young lives were ended in that tragic accident. I have made it my duty, that as long as I live, I will make sure that they are never forgotten. I will not forget!

If you are ever in Texas and you ask for the most popular tourist attraction in the entire state, you will be directed to The Alamo. I'm sure if you made your way there you would find plenty of souvenirs with the slogan, "Remember the Alamo!" So, if ever you do find your self there, ask someone if they remember, "The New London School Explosion?" They will probably be Texas natives and so will possibly remember. But if not, you will!.



Pauline and Donald Barrett


Rest in Peace

In memory of my cousins, Pauline and Donald Barrett.

And to the children and adults who perished on March 18, 1937,

Below is a link to a poem written by my daughter, Erika Barrett, in memory to the London School Explosion.


  • 3:17 P.M.
    In memory of the lives lost on March 18, 1937 due to the tragic school explosion. A forgotten time in history.


wayne barrett on March 18, 2016:

Remembering my cousins, Pauline and Donald Barrett

ocfireflies from North Carolina on November 11, 2014:

Right. : )

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on November 11, 2014:

Thank you Kim. I appreciate the comments and the visit. Better late that never, right?

ocfireflies from North Carolina on November 11, 2014:


Not sure how this one slipped past me...WOW! I had no idea that such a horrible event had happened. Your hub is written so well and does justice to a tragedy so many of us had not even heard of before reading this hub. Voted Up for sure.



Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on November 10, 2014:

Will, I am going to end you my email on FB message.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on November 10, 2014:

Good for you! Wow!

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on November 10, 2014:

Or you can just post your email, and I'll send them.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on November 10, 2014:

I figured as much. Sorry I'm not responding faster but we are in the last stages of finishing my book and we are hard at it.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on November 10, 2014:

Just send an email to that address so I can have your address. That way, I can send the pictures.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on November 10, 2014:

Okay. I couldn't open anything there.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on November 10, 2014:

Would you mind deleting that email then?

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on November 10, 2014:

Thanks Will. I will send you a response.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on November 10, 2014:

Did you get my email address? If not, here it is again:


WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on November 09, 2014:

Contact me here: willstarr228@gmail.com

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on November 09, 2014:

Will, I would love that. I have a couple of old pics but they may not be the same.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on November 09, 2014:

I found both Donald and Pauline on my genealogy program, including pictures if you want them, Wayne.

BTW, Pauline died on her 19th birthday, making it all that harder for the family to bear.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on October 22, 2013:

Lilliana, thank you very much for the kind thoughts.

Lilliana Delanor from Michigan, USA on October 22, 2013:

This should never have been forgotten. Thank you for reminding us.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on October 17, 2013:

Thank you Nellieanna. If you're on the opposite side of Texas, that's about half the country, isn't it? : ) I've driven through Texas. Very long drive!

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on October 17, 2013:

Oh, Wayne. It's more than just 'touching'. It's heart-wrenching. I was 5 at the time. I can recall hearing of "New London", even though we were on the opposite side of Texas, but I have no recall of knowing anything more about it or the catastrophe that happened there that year. Your passion to have it remembered is so worthwhile and admirable. It so definitely should be! Thank you for bringing me to it. I also read the touching poem "3:17 P.M." by embarrett91, too.

Yes, it's understandable that the pain and anguish among survivors and victims' families and loved ones would result in a withdrawal from discussing it. It sometimes requires much time & perspective to overcome that unwillingness to revisit such painful memories. It's good when a 'future' family member like you discovered and uncovers the historical moment and begins to share it.

Well done.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on August 19, 2013:

thank you Silva. I appreciate the visit.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on August 19, 2013:

Kris, I appreciate your visit to this hub in particular. Thank you for the kind thoughts.

Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on August 19, 2013:

Sitting here crying. I am a native Texas and I was unaware of this tragedy.

freecampingaussie from Southern Spain on August 18, 2013:

This is so sad for everyone concerned . I had heard about the tragedy in Wales a long time ago ( Am from Wales) but not this one . I enjoyed your poem as well .

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on July 24, 2013:

Thank you, FlourishAnyway. I appreciate your visit.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 24, 2013:

I, too, had never heard of this tragedy. Thank you for honoring their memories by making sure we do not forget.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on July 13, 2013:

Thank you for visiting this one, Jackie. And I truly appreciate the kind thoughts.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on July 12, 2013:

What a shock this must have been and a mystery to solve. You did a great job, I sure had never hear of it. I know it was devastating to family but I wonder if the nation as a whole never gave it the attention they may have because of World War brewing at this time? It has me interested enough I will have to read Brenda's version and maybe see what else was going on in the country at this time. Look at all the mess in the IRS, etc and here all we have been bombarded with for days on end is this Zimmerman trial. Maybe the media has never really changed. Or maybe I should read everything "before" I offer an opinion. Thank you for a most interesting read. I will certainly never forget your cousins.

Oh, and I read your daughters beautiful poem.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on July 05, 2013:

Kim, I appreciate the kind thoughts, and thank you for your prayers.

இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу from Niagara Region, Canada on July 05, 2013:


This is how they will live on. Because of you. Sometimes it takes a person to step up and say "enough's enough" and bring the focus to something as important as this. How can I express the gratitude to you for allowing me to learn of such an important event. I will say an extra prayer tonight.

Thank you


Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 25, 2013:

Thank you for your visit and kind thoughts, BrightMeadow.

BrightMeadow from a room of one's own on June 24, 2013:

This is a completely horrifying event. I guess I could understand why the generation that experienced this tragedy would not want to talk about it. Think about today when we have 24/7 news replaying disasters and tragedies over and over. When do the families get to try to put it behind them and put their lives together when the media is continuously replaying it?

My hearts go out to the families, though this catastrophe happened nearly three quarters of a century ago.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 19, 2013:

PurvisBobbi, thank you for the kind thoughts.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 19, 2013:

Thank you, Shasta for the visit and for helping me to carry on the memory.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 19, 2013:

Thank you again Kathryn. All the shares are greatly appreciated.

I will be looking for you on Google Plus

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on June 19, 2013:


This is so sad---and I did not know about this---it was before my time and I never found it in any of my research. I am so sorry for the children and the their families.

Bobbi Purvis

Shasta Matova from USA on June 19, 2013:

I am glad you took the time to research this important part of your family history. Being in Ohio, I hadn't heard of it either. I am guessing that part of the reason that it has been forgotten is that the problem of exploding gas is not as common. In the school shootings, each time there was a school shooting, there was a reminder of the last one, and the news always brought up the other one when they ran out of new information to tell about the current one. Since there haven't been gas explosions in schools (thank goodness), there is no, "remember when" stories to bring up.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on June 19, 2013:

Wayne, I'm just popping back in real quick to let you know that I shared this on HubPages, on Google Plus, and also with my boyfriend. It is a very interesting read. Thanks again.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 19, 2013:

Randy, thank you for stopping by. It is interesting that you mention your great great grandfather, because there is also controversy in my family about how my great grandfather was killed. Like you said, what is written down may not always be the facts!

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 19, 2013:

Thank you, Kathryn. Yes, it was a little shocking to many of us, but now most of the family knows about the event and it has become a topic of our family history. Personally, I have made it a priority of my own to keep the memory of my family and all the others who were lost that day alive.

I appreciate you visit and your kind words.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 19, 2013:

Peg, I truly appreciate your thoughts on this piece. Thank you for stopping by.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 19, 2013:

Moonlake, thank you for the kind words and the support.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 19, 2013:

Sheila, I appreciate your visit and your kindness!

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on June 19, 2013:

I'd also heard of this tragedy before but only when researching another article unrelated to explosion at the school. It's amazing how many events we learn about while doing research into our ancestors lives. I found out that even though family myths are based on truth, the facts get muddled about the actual history.

However, sometimes the facts tell a much more impelling tale than the myths ever could. It was true in my case when researching the murders of my great-great-grandfather and his brother in the Okefenokee swamp.

Enjoyed the hub and rated it up.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on June 19, 2013:

The title made me very curious, and I'm glad I read it. I have never heard of this horrible event, as far as I can recall. It must have been so terrible for the families of so many who died. I can only imagine. No wonder the families didn't want to talk about it. But I am surprised I haven't at least heard more about it on the history channel, or some kind of memorial. Some events are on the news every 10 years, at least.

Thank you for sharing this with us. It must have been especially shocking to hear about it, since a couple of your own relatives were affected by it. Wow.

~ Kathryn

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on June 19, 2013:

This was a well written and moving piece both fascinating and thought provoking. This is a tragedy that should not be forgotten. I watched the video in its entirety and remember Walter Kronkite as an active newscaster. He was quite moved by this tragedy.

Your tribute is an important remembrance not only to your family members but in honor of the lives of those children, teachers and rescuers who were lost that day. Thanks for sharing this piece of important history.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 19, 2013:

Thank you very much Vandynegl for taking the time to visit this piece.

vandynegl from Ohio Valley on June 19, 2013:

Amazing information! Thank you for sharing this! I had no idea of this event in history, but I'm not surprised that families just "didn't talk about it." I find that even with my own grandparents, they are reluctant to talk about issues. I am glad that my own parents are a little more open. Again, great information!

moonlake from America on June 19, 2013:

This is why I love genealogy. It's amazing what is found. A very sad story it is strange that we never hear about it. Poor little children. Great job on your hub. Voted up and shared.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on June 19, 2013:

This is a wonderful tribute to all that lost their lives that day. It is a shame that it was so heart breaking it was rarely spoke of. I knew nothing of it until I read your hub. It does need to be remembered and you have done an excellent job in writing this hub. I also read the poem by your daughter , it is so touching as well. Voted up and awesome! :)

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 07, 2013:

Alexandra, it is an honor to have you at my humble hub. Thank you very much for the kind thoughts.

SilverGenes on June 06, 2013:

Wayne, I had never heard of this either and reading through your hub and watching the videos brought many tears. Listening to that father talk about his daughter all these years later is heartbreaking. You have done an incredible job bringing this tragic story forward again. These children should never be forgotten.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 04, 2013:

Thank you Jose for stopping by on this one. I appreciate the input.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on June 04, 2013:

Thank you Jose for stopping by on this one. I appreciate the input.

Jose Velasquez from Lodi, New Jersey on June 04, 2013:

I have another answer to your question about why this was not talked about. Even in today's high-speed informational age the past is soon forgotten, because we have to live in the present and worry about the future. Sandy Hook Elementary was not that long ago, but aside from a few scattered voices, we have put this incident behind us. It will be stored away till the next disaster happens. I'm glad you took the time to share this.

Marlin 55 from USA on May 27, 2013:

I'm sure you're right a that, Wayne.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on May 27, 2013:

Thanks for taking the time to read this one Marlin. Even though Adolph sent the letter, it's pretty much assumed that there was no sincerity to it; it was all political posturing.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on May 27, 2013:

Jacqui, i appreciate your visit and the kind thoughts you have left behind.

Marlin 55 from USA on May 27, 2013:

Wayne, that was a great article, very well researched and very well written and I found it interesting that Adolf Hitler sent his condolences.

Jacqui from New Zealand on May 27, 2013:

Thank you for sharing this. I had never heard of it (though, not being American that could explain it). I was interested to hear about the explosion being the reason for the addition of an odour to the gas - that was something I didn't know.

What you are doing here is helping to continue the memory of those who were killed - much like we remember the children of Sandy Hook, Columbine etc.


Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on May 25, 2013:

Thank you very much for stopping by Stages Of Me. And Peace to you as well!

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on May 25, 2013:

Lurana your visit means a lot to me, and I can't thank you enough for sharing this article!

Kathy Henderson from Pa on May 25, 2013:

Such a tragic and yet so well put together story. So many angels in one BOOM ~ the enormity of pain that this event must have brought is unfathomable. God Bless all the children lost and all the families effected. God Bless you for sharing and allowing us all to see that life is so very precious and memories are just as important. Never forgetting and yet learning to move forward as we will see them all again one day. Peace to you always

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on May 25, 2013:

I appreciate the visit on this one Eddy, and thank you for the share.

MrsBrownsParlour on May 25, 2013:

Wow. This is an extraordinarily valuable contribution, for its historical consciousness and for your insights on the human experiences involved. Sharing on FB. ~Lurana

Eiddwen from Wales on May 25, 2013:

I have to admit that I had never heard of this but thank you so much Wayne for sharing this tragedy in your own tender and sensitive way.

Voted up and shared and here's wishing you a great weekend.


Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on May 12, 2013:

Thanks for stopping by a reading this one shanmarie. I always appreciate the kind words and the support.

Shannon Henry from Texas on May 12, 2013:

I've heard of this before. Not sure if my husband, a native Texan, mentioned it to me or if I saw it on a history channel type thing, but it is so very sad, isn't it? Also interesting, though, how certain events can change the way things are done and then become something completely taken for granted. Seems like Texas has had quite a few of those kinds of disasters, actually.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on May 09, 2013:

Thank you for your time, Dale. And thank you for the support.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on May 09, 2013:

wow. what a great hub. I had never heard of this before. voted up.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on April 17, 2013:

Thanks for the kind words, Frank.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on April 17, 2013:

my goodness Wayne, what a detailed hub.. Im at a loss for words when reality from and old search stabs you in the heart.. my heart goes out to you and your family mt friend

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on April 14, 2013:

Thank you, Bill. Your support and kind words are appreciated.

billd01603 from Worcester on April 13, 2013:

Very good Hub Wayne. Voted up and interesting. As to why you never have heard of this, I think the media was a whole lot smaller then. Also, we were on the verge of World War 2. Many disasters happened in that war. It's too bad.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on April 13, 2013:

Thank you very much for your kind words.

wvugirl2007 from Virginia on April 13, 2013:

This article was fantastic. I had never heard of this event, but I will be looking into it more. May your loved ones rest in peace and the victims of this terrible disaster be remember. God Bless!

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on April 12, 2013:

I broke during that same scene. I listed a couple of books on the hub...one of which is titled, "Gone at 3:17" It is one of the most heart wrenching stories that I have ever read.

damian0000 from Belfast on April 12, 2013:

Thanks to you Wayne, I saw your post... and just happy that I finally get to comment on your excellent hub... the video in particular is extremely moving --- that poor old man describing finding his daughter, what a tragedy!

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on April 12, 2013:

Thank you, Damien. I replied to your post on the forum, but I will say again here; I appreciate your kind words and thoughts and especially the fact that you went out of your way to comment on this article. So, from Clearwater to Belfast...here's to you!

damian0000 from Belfast on April 12, 2013:

In its rightful place at last... :-)

Hi Wayne.... I tried posting on this hub a few times last night but as you know, there are a lot of problems with leaving comments on HP at the moment and I got rebuffed more than once!

Just to say that I didn't know anything about this tragic incident either... the hub you have created about it is very well-researched and written, I found it very moving... and especially the accompanying video --- I can't imagine what the parents of those lost children have gone through.

You do very well to remember them, my friend, and if I get to Texas anytime soon I will think about New London as well as the Alamo..

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on April 09, 2013:

Cynthia; thank you very much for your time and for your kind words.

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on April 09, 2013:

This is such an incredible story. I don't remember reading about this. I seem to remember something about a shop teacher setting off an explosion somewhere in my history knowledge. That felt familiar as I read, maybe from some of the fire safety drill movies we saw during health class when I was a child. But nothing ties it to the death of so many children at one time in a place where they go with no expectations of something bad happening. It is always devastating to hear about young lives cut short. The trauma must have been tremendous and, like some of the other hubbers have commented, it is not uncommon for something so horrific not to be discussed by those directly affected.

Thank you for sharing such a well researched article.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on March 29, 2013:

Appreciate your visit, Ryan. Thank you very much!

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on March 29, 2013:

Thank you for visiting, Parks. Thank goodness no one was hurt in the explosion you mentioned. From stories I've heard, propane can be very deadly.

ryanjhoe from Somewhere over the rainbow on March 28, 2013:

This is incredibly sad. Never heard of this tragedy like this before, I hope it will never happen again in future. Thanks for sharing this story.

Parks McCants from Eugene Oregon U.S.A. on March 28, 2013:

In reading your well written account of this tragedy, I'm reminded of my own encounter with compressed gas. In this case propane. In 1998 following the construction of a new retail/ office building, a neighboring Baker destroyed the building and several businesses with the strike of a match. In this case ( thank God) no one was killed. The heavier than air gas had collected in the base of a large walk in oven. When the gas exploded it expanded the building, taking out my retail business, bakery and much of the adjoining structure. Thank you for the hours spent producing this quality Hub.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on March 27, 2013:

Thank you very much, Anne. And thank you for sharing your experience. It is amazing to hear about events in history that I have never been aware of.

Anne from Spain on March 27, 2013:

Hi Wayne. What a fantastic tribute to all those who died in this terrible tragedy. I read this hub because something similar happened in Wales when I was 11 years old and which affected me deeply because it could well have happened to me and my classmates.

On the 21st of October 1966 following a period of heavy rain, a slag heap made up of rock and shale from a nearby colliery started to become unstable and then a landslide covered the village school killing 116 children and 28 adults in the welsh village of Aberfan, it was shocking and terrible news and I am sure the whole of England and Scotland as well as Wales mourned for these lost lives.

I too came from a mining community and there was a slag heap very near my school. I well remember glancing anxiously out of the school windows when we had heavy rain following the Aberfan disaster.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on March 26, 2013:

Jools:Thank you, Dear for taking the time to read and for sharing this piece. I truly appreciate it.

travmaj: Your kind words and thoughts mean a lot to me and the family.

eurowalker: I've heard a lot of Texan's say they have never heard of the event. It truly is sad that these innocents could be forgotten. Thank you very much for your support.

Theresa: Thank you so much for visiting and for taking your time to read about this event.

molly: Bless you for you kindness and for your time!

Mary Strain from The Shire on March 26, 2013:

Such a riveting and well-documented story...God rest them.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on March 26, 2013:

Wayne - Thank you for bringing this long forgetten and tragic incident to our attention. I had never heard about it either. Theresa

europewalker on March 26, 2013:

Wayne I had never heard of this sad, sad tragedy and I live in Texas. What a horrible loss, so many precious children and adults gone, just heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing, voted up and awesome.

travmaj from australia on March 26, 2013:

This is a tragic, heartbreaking read. What a shock to discover the story and find your young relatives in the disaster. It seems impossible that this story should just fade away. To think of the horror of a school just exploding and the anguish of parents and families. This is such a well documented and informative hub.

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on March 26, 2013:

This was fascinating Wayne and of course, very tragic. I am also studying my family tree and recently found 3 great-uncles who died in WW1; it left me a bit lost for a while, even though I never knew them, I could not help thinking about my great-grandmother and how close she might have been to her brothers. This story is even more tragic, they were so young. I think doing further research was what you were meant to do though, even though it was so tragic. Shared.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on March 26, 2013:

Pat, thank you very much for your kind words. My only wish is, as you said, that the news will spread and that those angels will be remembered.

Pat Materna from Memphis, Tennessee, USA on March 26, 2013:

Wayne ... Awesome hub. Beautifully written and detailed. I am still in shock that in my 62 years of living in this country and in the south that I have never heard of this tragic happening. One would think it would have come up in the news, especially when other disaster involving schools happen. Your personal family connection was nicely done. Thanks for bringing this to the forefront. I can only hope that some "news media" would get hold of this story and give it the attention and recognition those lost lives deserve. Thanks again.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on March 25, 2013:

Thank you very much, Marcy.

Marcy J. Miller from Arizona on March 25, 2013:

Wayne, this was a beautifully done and well researched piece. It's the sort of history I most enjoy -- that which comes alive through a connection to the living. You made that connection poignantly.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on March 24, 2013:

Social media aside, I truly believe that a lot of it has to do with agendas. The school shootings have become top news because of gun control lobbyists...in 1937 there was another agenda that drew attention from everything else...war with Germany.

Wayne Barrett (author) from Clearwater Florida on March 24, 2013:

Thank you for visiting Kelly. They have been silent but today I believe their voices are being heard again!

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