The power and horror of the images from that tragic day still remain in the hearts and minds of many Rusk County residents who remember the London School Explosion. Upwards of 300 children and staffers died in one of the worst catastrophes to ever occur at a public school. Survivors of the explosion met over the weekend to mark the 76th anniversary.
The power and horror of the images from that tragic day still remain in the hearts and minds of many Rusk County residents who remember the London School Explosion. Upwards of 300 children and staffers died in one of the worst catastrophes to ever occur at a public school. Survivors of the explosion met Sunday afternoon to mark the 75th anniversary.
A cenotaph marks the location of the New London school explosion on the campus of West Rusk High School. Events observing the 75th anniversary of the tragedy are scheduled for March 18 in New London.
A cenotaph marks the location of the New London school explosion on the campus of West Rusk High School. Events observing the 74th anniversary of the tragedy are scheduled for March 19-20 in New London and Henderson. Staff photo by Matthew Prosser.
Another week in Rusk County comes to a close as the sun sets over Pleasant Hill Cemetery along Texas Highway 323 near New London. Buried here are 112 of the 293 victims of the March 18, 1937, explosion which completely destroyed the London School and wiped out a generation of young Rusk County residents. Located on land donated by Capt. Robert W. Smith in 1845, a veteran of the Texas Revolution, the earliest marked grave is that of DeWitt Smith, who died in 1850. Staff photo by Matthew Prosser
David M. Brown, above, along with Michael Wereschagin, are finishing a book about the New London school explosion as told through survivors’ firsthand accounts and microfilm research. The book will be published in late 2011 or early 2012. Courtesy photo
WORST SCHOOL DISASTER
The London School is shown after the 1937 natural gas-fired explosion that witnesses say lifted the building from its foundation and dropped it back down. About 300 students perished in the blast on Thursday, March 18, 1937, prompting a movement to change the way natural gas is processed and dispensed. File photo
John Davidson, docent of the London Museum, points to a photograph of his sister Ardyth, who was killed in the explosion at London School on March 18, 1937. The biannual reunion is set for this weekend.
New London Museum tour guide John Davidson, left, shows Angela DuBose and Lynn Carroll a photo of children who perished in the 1937 New London School explosion. One of the girls in the photo is Davidson’s sister, Ardyth. The museum has many items on display from the disaster and other relics brought in by survivors and family members. The museum is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Staff photo by Coshandra Dillard
Survivors of the March 18, 1937, New London school explosion gathered Friday night at the Gregg County Exhibit Building in Longview. Here, Denise Mitchell, far left, listens intently as her parents Marie and Lee Grosdidier describe a memory from their school days in New London. Staff photo by Michele Marcotte
New London residents have quite a history to share with visitors, as evidenced by this monument to the London School explosion tragedy in the 1930s. Here, the monument is framed by a beautiful blue sky. To see if more blue skies are ahead, please see upper right-hand corner of this page. (Daily News staff photo by Kevin Shaw)
Nathan Durham, above, was an eighth-grader when his life and other New London residents' lives were changed forever. With tears in his eyes, he recalled that disastrous day during the New London School Reunion over the weekend. On March 18, 1937, Durham was in the library when the New London School blast occurred. Thrown under a table, his father found him alive in the explosion's rubble. The Durhams' next door neighbor found his daughter and both children were the first two explosion victims taken to Henderson Memorial Hospital. The daughter died en route to the hospital. (Daily News photo by Sherry Long)
Mollie Ward, above, a survivor of the London School explosion stands in a replica of a 1937 London School classroom at the London Museum. All the classroom items shown were pulled from the rubble of that fatal day. Ward retired Saturday, Oct. 30, after spending more than a decade as the museum's director and chief historian. (Daily News staff photos by Sherry Long)