Jersey City in Hudson County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Black Tom Explosion
Liberty State Park
You are standing on a site which saw one of the worse acts of sabotage in American history!
Prior to the U.S. entering WWI, the shoreline on which you now stand was occupied by an extensive munitions depot operated by the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The area was referred to as Black Tom Island and was the largest munitions depot in the country, supplying shipments to both the Allied and German forces.
On July 30, 1916, the depot exploded in flames, rocking New York Harbor and sending residents tumbling from their beds. The noise of the explosion was heard as far away as Maryland and Connecticut. On Ellis Island, terrified immigrants were evacuated by ferry to the Battery in Lower Manhattan. Shrapnel pierced the Statue of Liberty, damaging the torch. Property damage was estimated at $20 million.
While the exact number of casualties is not known, Jersey City Patrolman James Doherty and Lehigh Valley Railroad Police Chief Cornelius Leyden were among those killed as a result of the explosion. Initial investigations declared the explosion was an accident, but after seventeen years of deliberation, Germany would be found responsible.
Erected by NJ Department of Environmental Protection/StatePark Services.
Location. 40° 41.566′ N, 74° 3.443′ W. Marker is in Jersey City, New Jersey, in Hudson County. Marker can be reached from Morris Pesin Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jersey City NJ 07305, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Explosion at Liberty! (was here, next to this marker but has been reported missing. ); Liberation (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Morris Pesin’s Legendary Canoe Trip Which Launched Liberty State Park (was approx. 0.2 miles away but has been reported missing. ); The Salt Marsh (approx. 0.4 miles away); Changes in the Land (approx. 0.6 miles away); Inside the Statue (approx. 0.6 miles away); Symbolism (approx. 0.6 miles away); Statue Facts (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jersey City.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Categories. • Disasters • War, World I •
More. Search the internet for Black Tom Explosion.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 16, 2018. This page originally submitted on November 15, 2018, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 53 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 15, 2018, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.