Harford History

March 26, 2006

1919: EXPLOSION AT ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND

On March 28, 1919, a large explosion occurred at Aberdeen Proving Ground in the early afternoon. The cause was nitroglycerine left unattended in a boiling pot in the Main Front. The nitroglycerine quickly caught fire and ignited four powder magazines.

The blast shattered dozens of windows and blew doors out of their frames. No fatalities were reported, though 15 people suffered injuries.

Despite the explosion, 324 buildings, including 60 barracks, 19 mess halls and a hospital, were completed by the summer of 1919. These buildings would soon accommodate the soldiers and officers who were assigned to Aberdeen from Camp Upton in New York and Camp Dix in New Jersey.

[ Harford Historical Bulletin, No. 49, Summer 1991. Research by the Harford County Public Library.]

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