Acquisition No.: 1999-10
Title: Newspaper Article; "Emergency evacuation of all of Bonneauville."
Item History:

This section of the Bonneauville Museum Catalogue files excludes most of the approximately 600 known newspaper articles from the past century and a half that contain the word Bonneauville. However this incident is of particular interest. Little that has been written about the event other than what is seen here, has been found. Word-of-mouth tales handed down from the early 1950's vary slightly regarding the incident.

By 1951, WWII was long over. Explosive munitions by the tens of thousands of tons were stored in places like Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, PA, awaiting deactivation. As explosive compounds like TNT were removed, the material was repackaged and shipped to Philadelphia, PA. Whether truck driver's took back roads instead of routes through larger cities for safety is not known. It happened to be in the center of Bonneauville that one driver, hauling 22,000 pounds of TNT, fell asleep. Neither he nor his passenger were greatly harmed when their truck rolled over. (The barn in the background of this newspaper photo is most currently the location of Brother's Pizza at 14 W. Hanover St.)

Concern for the citizenry of Bonneauville was great. Panic spread. It was believed that the entire town would be leveled had the load of TNT exploded. Volunteers moved from door to door throughout the town demanding that everyone evacuate. Many did.

Note: the second of these two Evening Sun photographs was found in the Mary Esther Kuhn estate papers in 2014. Other disasters seemed to be plaguing the Bonneauville area in the same time period - in the form of structure fires. All occurred within the tiny town's borders. Penciled on the photo is "Ambrose Myers Barn, Thurs. night, Nov. 8, 1951," and "School (St. Jos. School of Bonneauville.) Mon., Oct. 15, 1951." The Long family's barn on the first block of E. Hanover St. also burned around this time - all at the hands of a young arson.

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Location: Collection Book V
Acq. Date: 1999
Acquired from: Norms Auction Service, Hanover, PA.
Price ($): 1.00
Type: accession
Curator: ckrc