The Shorpy Archive
 
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
 
Join and Share

 
Social Shorpy

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

 
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

 
 
 
 
Member Photos


Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

 
Colorized Photos


Colorized photos submitted by members.

 
About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600
VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

Hundreds Dead: 1947

Hundreds Dead: 1947

April 17, 1947. "Armed troops form a roadblock at Texas City, Texas, as all persons, including workers, were barred from entering the area where new explosions were expected. Fire in huge oil storage tanks burns in background." New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Collection. View full size.

I sailed into Texas City regularly for work

And each and every time we did we talked about this disaster. Truly horrific.

Texas City

My mother was attending school in Beaumont, about 90 miles away, when Texas City blew up. She said it rattled the windows at her school.

My mother used to tell me stories about this

My mother was working there as a secretary when it happened. She told me about donating blood and then going with a friend when she was looking for her husband's body. All that was found of her friends husband was his arm with his wedding ring.

My dad was there

As a five-year-old resident of that city, dwelling considerably farther from the epicenter than this, fortunately. Though I suspect the men in that White M3 Scout Car had already seen much worse.

Big Boom(s)

These explosions were the first time it was realized that Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer was explosive. It's increasing use as an explosive put quite a dent in the dynamite business.

These blasts were studied by the government as a template for what occurs during and after a nuclear bombing.

Double blast

Keeping people away from the scene due to fears of additional explosions was a reasonable precaution. There actually were two explosions in the disaster, about 12 hours apart. While the first blast was responsible for almost all of the deaths, the second one may have been larger and caused even more property destruction. It would have been a major disaster in and of itself had it been the only blast.

Headline News

Aftermath of the fertilizer ship explosion.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.