Conestoga Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Cost of Dynamite
The Atglen & Susquehanna in Conestoga Township
Dynamite was essential for expedient construction of the A&S. Rock cliffs on the Susquehanna River were blasted for months to create shelves that carried the rails northward, a lower route for the older Port Road and an upper route for the new A&S (lower right images). Both crossed the mouth of the Conestoga River at Safe Harbor on sweeping curves and new tandem bridges. Compressed air from a converted rolling mill in Safe Harbor was piped up the cliffs to drill pilot holes for filling with explosives. Boxed dynamite was passed by hand along the treacherous river face (upper right images). Hundreds of pilot holes were detonated simultaneously, debris removed, and the process repeated.
Local manufacture of dynamite employed local residents, unlike the PRR construction crews, which engaged thousands of transient immigrant laborers (lower left images). A dynamite factory explosion on June 9, 1906, near Colemanville occurred a few weeks before public dedication of the A&S. The accident claimed eleven lives, eight between the ages of 16 and 25. Decimation of the bodies was extreme; mostly unidentified fragments were collected. Such
Funeral services were held at the Colemanville United Methodist Church. A single casket was interred for the remains of ten of the victims (lower center image). Although the factory was no longer producing dynamite for the A&S, the PRR would not escape association with the event then reported by the Lancaster New Era as “the most horrible accident that ever occurred in Lancaster County.”
Erected by Amtrak.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & Viaducts • Disasters • Man-Made Features • Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical date for this entry is June 9, 1906.
Location. 39° 54.472′ N, 76° 20.21′ W. Marker is in Conestoga Township, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker is on Colemanville Church Road 0.2 miles west of River Road when traveling west. Marker is located within the trailhead kiosk at the Colemanville Church Road parking lot for access to the Enola Low Grade Trail. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 145 Colemanville Church Rd, Conestoga PA 17516, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Colemanville Covered Bridge (approx. 0.7 miles away); Conestoga (approx. 2.7 miles away); Baumgardner's Mill Covered Bridge (1860)Port of Lancaster (approx. 2.8 miles away); Bird Watching Platform (approx. 2.9 miles away); Houses for Employees of the Safe Harbor Iron Works (approx. 3.1 miles away); Iron Works (approx. 3.2 miles away); Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal (approx. 3.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Conestoga Township.
More about this marker. This is a large, "billboard-style" marker, mounted on the south-facing side of the trailhead kiosk for the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. The Atglen & Susquehanna Low Grade
Also see . . . Scene of Carnage at Powder Mills of McAbee Co. near Lancaster - Surving Employees Driven Insane. (Link to The Scranton Republican front page newspaper article from June 10, 1906, reporting on the disastrous factory explosion.) As a result of the explosion of the dynamite factory owned by the C. R. McAbee company of Pittsburg, near Pequea, this afternoon, eleven men were killed and five injured. The sickening sight drove some of the surviving girls employed at the plant insane. The victims were literally blown to pieces. Nearly all were residents of Lancaster County. Two were from York County. The McAbee company's factory was built by the Pennsylvania railroad to keep H. S. Kerbaugh & Co., the contractors, supplied with an ample (Submitted on August 31, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 30, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 250 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 31, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 6, 7. submitted on September 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 8. submitted on August 31, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.