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Lyndhurst in Bergen County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Theresa “Tessie” McNamara

1892 – 1971

 

—Heroine of the Kingsland Explosion —

 
Theresa “Tessie” McNamara Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 25, 2010
1. Theresa “Tessie” McNamara Marker
Inscription. In 1915 Tessie McNamara was the first woman hired by the Canadian Car Foundry Co. Ltd., a munitions plant in Kingsland, which is now Lyndhurst, New Jersey. She was hired as a stenographer and telephone switchboard operator, but the company grew so fast, additional stenographers were hired and she remained at the switchboard.

On January 11, 1917 at 3:45 P.M. a fire broke out in Building #30. As the fire spread through the 84 acre complex, Tessie remained at her switchboard to notify the fire and police departments, her home office in New York and each of the forty buildings. As she made her calls 3" shells were exploding like fireworks and black smoke could be seen from New York City.

"My first thought was to save the lives of the 1700 men in the buildings. While making my calls, the first shell struck the building and passed about five feet from where I was sitting. About a dozen buildings were now on fire, and I had completed all calls. I started to leave the building without a coat, but I couldn't walk. My courage left me and the arriving firemen picked me up, wrapped a big coat around me and rushed for the gate."

Although the plant was completely destroyed and several homes on the hill above the complex were damaged or destroyed, all employees escaped due to the courageous efforts of Tessie McNamara.
Born in
Theresa “Tessie” McNamara Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 25, 2010
2. Theresa “Tessie” McNamara Marker
Lyndhurst in 1892, Tessie McNamara lived there fifty-two years before moving to East Rutherford where she died in 1971.
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In the distance can be seen the "stack", the most visible remains of the Canadian Car & Foundry Co. Ltd.
 
Location. 40° 48.136′ N, 74° 6.104′ W. Marker is in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, in Bergen County. Marker is on Clay Avenue, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is on Clay Avenue, between Valley Brook Avenue and Wall Street. Marker is in this post office area: Lyndhurst NJ 07071, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. John McGarry (approx. 1.1 miles away); Lyndhurst War Memorial (approx. 1.4 miles away); Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom (approx. 1.4 miles away); Pulaski Drive (approx. 1.4 miles away); North Arlington 9/11 Memorial (approx. 1.6 miles away); Detective James Zadroga (approx. 1.6 miles away); U.S.S. Maine Memorial (approx. 1.6 miles away); Rutherford Vietnam & Korea Memorial (approx. 1.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Lyndhurst.
 
More about this marker. A picture of Tessie McNamara appears in the upper left of the marker, while the "stack" of the Canadian Car & Foundry Co. Ltd. is
Marker on Clay Avenue image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 25, 2010
3. Marker on Clay Avenue
The viewing platform and the "stack" can be seen in this photo behind the marker.
on the lower right.
 
Categories. Notable EventsNotable Persons
 
Stack of the Canadian Car & F oundry Co. Ltd image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 25, 2010
4. Stack of the Canadian Car & F oundry Co. Ltd
The most visible remains of the Canadian Car & Foundry Co. Ltd, the "stack", can be seen from a viewing platform behind the marker.
Canadian Car & Foundry Co. Ltd. Stack image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 9, 2012
5. Canadian Car & Foundry Co. Ltd. Stack
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,008 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   5. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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