Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dynamite Explosion in 1890 Breaks Windows and Shakes Residents of Bartow-on-the-Sound in Pelham

On April 5, 1890, a massive explosion at a dynamite works in Baychester killed two workers and shook the countryside.  In nearby Bartow-on-the-Sound, a hamlet located in Pelham, windows were broken and residents were shaken.  A brief article about the event appeared on April 7, 1890 in a Syracuse, New York newspaper.  It is transcribed below, followed by a citation to its source.

"A terrific explosion which shook the building and broke the window panes in many homes at Bartow, City Island and Pelham Bridge occurred Saturday.  The building known as the running house at Dittmar's dynamite works in Baychester had blown up, killing James H. Kelmeir and Max Schultz.  Schultz had come to the works to pay a friendly visit to Kelmeir.  In the engine house, about 100 feet away, the engineer was badly stunned by the shock.  His escape from death is miraculous.  Kelmeir and Schultz were blown to atoms.  The explosion left a hole six feet deep and twenty feet long where the building stood.  How the dynamite came to explode is a mystery that will probably never be solved.  The railrad station, a quarter of a mile from the scene of the explosion, was badly damaged by the shock."

Source:  A Terrific Explosion, The Syracuse Daily Journal, Apr. 7, 1890, p. 1, col. 3.

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