Aiken in Aiken County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
1953 Gas Explosion
On January 27, 1953, an explosion caused by a natural gas leak killed ten people and destroyed five buildings on the northern half of this block. The five buildings destroyed were Platt's Drug Store, the Jones Electric Company (the site of the explosion), R.W. McCreary's, the Diana Shop, and Liles Drug Company (the former site of Hahn Grocery for many years). The Holley Building and the others to the south, sustained damage, but survived the blast. The ten local citizens (nine from Aiken and one from Graniteville) killed in the accident are here remembered. They are David O. Rutland, Emille C. McCarter, John C. Watson, Charles Nelson Long, Mrs. W.M. Duncan, John Henry "Jack" Neibling, "Bubba" Mosley, Jack Holley, Ruth Madry, and Mae Weeks.
Erected 2009 by Aiken County Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Disasters • Notable Events. In addition, it is included in the South Carolina, Aiken County Historical Society series list.
Location. 33° Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Aiken SC 29801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Aiken (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); H. Odell Weeks (about 400 feet away); St. Thaddeus Church (about 500 feet away); Author Jeff Scott (about 500 feet away); The S.C. Railroad (about 600 feet away); South Carolina Canal & Rail Road Company (about 600 feet away); Woodmen Of The World (about 600 feet away); Original Survey of Aiken (about 700 feet away); St. John's Methodist Church (about 700 feet away); William Aiken, Sr. (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Aiken.
Also see . . .
1. Aiken's 1953 Gas Explosion. By the beginning of the 1950s, Aiken was well on its way to becoming a progressive and modern small town. (Submitted on December 15, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
2. Marker at site of '53 explosion gets OK'd. The Aiken Design Review Board has voted to recommend to City Council that a historic marker be placed at the site of the 1953 gas explosion that occurred on Laurens Street. (Submitted on October 24, 2012, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
3. David O. Rutland Tombstone. David was a salesman for Jones Electric Company. (Submitted on October 24, 2012, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
4. Remembering Jan. 27, 1953, a day that rocked Aiken. Horace Bouknight saw everything. The former Aiken resident was standing on Laurens Street around 8:30 a.m., Jan. 27, 1953. It was a Tuesday. Bouknight was 20 years old the time when a massive explosion in front of the Jones Electric Company building sent glass flying across four city blocks, according to news reports from the time. (Submitted on March 26, 2017, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
5. 1953 Gas Explosion in Downtown Aiken, SC - Youtube. Recently discovered and digitized footage shot by Vernon Fulmer on his 8mm home movie camera after an explosion caused by a natural gas leak killed ten people and destroyed five buildings. (Submitted on March 26, 2017, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
1. The 1953 Aiken Gas Explosion By the Numbers:
— Submitted December 15,
Credits. This page was last revised on March 26, 2017. It was originally submitted on March 17, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 2,286 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 18, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 5. submitted on August 7, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 6. submitted on June 4, 2012, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 7, 8. submitted on March 26, 2017, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.