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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

No Results Yet, so more History!

Smashwords still has NOT updated its quarterly sales figures, but then again my Name is Wilson and if they are attacking it alphabetically, I may be towards the end of the list.
So more History!
On this day in 2004, the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty re-opens after being closed since the September 11 attacks.
What I didn't know was the crown of the Statue of Liberty didn't re-open until July 4, 2009.
The crown had been closed since the Black Tom explosion.  What in the world is the Black Tom explosion and when did that happen?  That was my reaction!
June 30, 1916, or June 29th depending on where you look an explosion took place at 2:08AM on a mile long island that sat beside Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty hangs out.  It appears this island which was referred to as 'Black Tom' was a shipping depot, with docks, and warehouses.  The warehouses were primarily used at this time for munitions.  As World War I was under way and the United States was in preparations to send munitions to Britain and France in support of the War effort, there were approximately TWO MILLION POUNDS of Ammunition and ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS of TNT.  The ammunition was loaded on train cars either sitting on the rails or in warehouses waiting to loaded onto ships.  The Hundred Thousand Pounds of TNT was on the Johnson Barge No. 17, which had tied up to the docks in order to avoid paying a tow charge of twenty five dollars which would be the equivalent to five hundred and some dollars in today's market.
It was later discovered the explosion was the result of German sabotage on American soil.  The first and largest explosion happened at 2:08AM on July 30th.  To the people still up and around they still considered it the night of the 29th.  Explosions continued for hours after the initial blast.
The initial blast was a bad one.  It measured 5.0-5.5 on the Richter scale, roughly the equivalent of a man made earthquake!  People in Maryland were awakened by the initial blast.  Windows were blown out of their panes up to twenty-five miles away.  Fragments were lodged into the Statue of Liberty and the Jersey Journey building in Jersey Square which was over a mile away from the initial blast.  The clock on the Jersey Journal building stopped working at 2:12AM on July 30th, 1916.  Damage was done to the skirt and the torch of the Statue of Liberty.  The damage caused was wide spread and very costly.  Remarkably only seven fatalities were a result of the explosion.
I guess the torch has been closed since July 30th, 1916, until it reopened on July 4, 2009.
I wonder if they ever fixed the clock?  It is questions and curiosity like this that I will instill into my boys.  My daughter is already a very critical thinker, good student, and going to college.  The boys are only one and three.  They have yet to experience encyclopedias and writing reports during summer vacations.
But now we know what the Black Tom explosion was.


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