The Big Explosion of 1915

The Daily Ardmoreite
Monday, Sept. 27, 1915
Ardmore, Oklahoma

TERRIFIC GASOLINE EXPLOSION THIS AFTERNOON
SHAKES THE ENTIRE CITY
NINE KNOWN DEAD AT THIS TIME, WITH MANY MISSING AND
PROBABLY BURIED BENEATH WRECKAGE OF BUILDINGS
--- FIRE FOLLOWS EXPLOSION ---
SANTA FE FREIGHT DEPOT BURNED TO GROUND
AND PASSENGER STATION BADLY DAMAGED
BLOCK EAST OF TRACKS IN RUINS.

An explosion of a 250 barrel tank car of gasoline at 2:20 this afternoon in the yards of the Santa Fe wrecked hundreds of houses and probably killed as many as fifty people. The death list cannot be completed until the bodies are dug from the buildings which were totally wrecked near the explosion. Immediately following the explosion excited people were running in every direction. The glass fronts were blown from stores and scores of people were bleeding. The news came that two other cars were exposed and that no one was allowed near the place of destruction.

Among the dead are Chas. R. Smith, former member of the police force who was standing on Main street near the explosion and was killed by falling stones. Stones from the Arthur Hall cigar store fell upon him. A man named A.G. Gould a fruit peddler was driving across the Santa Fe tracks near the explosion. He was killed outright, his horse was killed and his wagon was blown to pieces. An Indian sitting in his wagon east of the Love Hotel was killed and his team and wagon crushed. The east side of the building fell.

The Santa Fe freight station was wrecked and burned to the ground. The union passenger station is almost a total wreck. The express office was partially wrecked. From the Santa Fe freight to the Whittington Hotel every building including the Pennington Wholesale Grocery house is wrecked. The east side of the Whittington Hotel was wrecked from the top story to the first floor. On the opposite side of the street the wreckage was almost as bad. Swift's house was wrecked and burned. The 2- story rooming house over the Canton Cafe at the corner of Main and Caddo was wrecked as was also Bob Biggs' restaurant. Short Twyford was killed here. A woman was dug from the ruins and was in a manner dead. Some dead negroes were taken out here also. Ladd & Davidson's wholesale house east of the railroad was badly wrecked. Mrs. Clara Davidson was completely covered with falling bricks and the bookkeeper was also in the store. Both were taken out. Mrs. Davidson was hurt but probably not seriously. The bookkeeper was not taken to the hospital.

The scene beggars description. Almost every family had some member in town somewhere and men and women were frantically searching for missing ones. Telephone poles were twisted in two so great was the force of the concussion. Lights will be out tonight and the city will be in darkness. Martial Law has been declared and Chief of Police Hutchins said this afternoon that many extra men would be appointed to protect merchandise. Surgeons were busy and will probably be able to meet the demands made upon them.

In the Ardmoreite building the glass was blown from the front, doors were wrecked, linotypes were put out of commission and one member of the force was slightly cut with glass. Mrs. James McHughes on North Caddo street was painfully cut. In almost every store someone received cuts from falling glass.

Residences from a half a mile around suffered from broken windows. The high school lost almost every window and the roof was damaged.

Mack Walker at Santa Fe freight office and Fred Walker his son the warehouse foreman were both seriously injured.

Dawson Bros. produce house was wrecked and some of the workmen are missing. The situation grows worse as the rescue work proceeds. At least five persons were killed in the Santa Fe freight house. L.L. Hadly and Eb Evans are seriously injured.

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The Daily Ardmoreite
Tuesday, Sept. 28, 1915
Ardmore, Oklahoma

The List of Dead

The correct list of dead is as follows:

AARON C. GOULD, age 44, peddler, Palestine, Texas.

HENRY CARPENTER, recovered from the Santa Fe freight house, age
and place of residence not reported.

SAM STALLCUP, youth 7 years of age, residence Ardmore.

POOL A. WALL, farmer, living in northwest part of the county,
remains recovered from Pennington building, age about 50 years.

MRS. BOND, identified this morning as a woman wearing plaid
dress, who was billing goods at Santa Fe depot; age and
place of residence not reported.

OTTO McCLURG, young messenger boy, age about 14 years,
residence Ardmore.

C.C. BISHOP, age 45, residence Lone Grove, body recovered from
Pennington building late yesterday afternoon.

CHARLES SMITH, age 35, ex-policeman, killed near Santa Fe tracks,
residence Ardmore.

HENRY WILLINGHAM, residence Hoxbar, age not given, killed at
Santa Fe freight depot.

HENRY HILL, farmer, residence Baum, age 37, killed at freight depot

IRA WOODS, employee of refinery, age 39, killed when car on which
he was at work, exploded, residence Ardmore.

J.T. GILKEY, Yardmaster Santa Fe, severely burned at freight
depot, and died later at sanitarium, age 38, residence Ardmore.

E.J. COX, engineer, age 44, killed in front of express office.

HENRY SIMMS, age 50, Santa Fe flagman, killed at crossing,
residence Ardmore.

RICHARD BARNES, Choctaw Indian, aged 22, killed near Santa Fe depot

MILTON TAYLOR, age 30, killed in Canton rooming house, age and
place of residence unknown.

JOE GULLY, age 54, farmer, lives near city, killed near Santa Fe depot

MATTIE ANDERSON, killed in Canton rooming house, age and place of
residence unknown.

MRS. CARRIE DAVIDSON, age 36, severely injured in store of Ladd &
Davidson, died later at Sanitarium, residence Ardmore.

"SHORT" TWYFORD, age 45, waiter, killed at Biggs restaurant,
residence Ardmore.

M.E. ATKINS, age 54, drayman, killed on Washington street by
falling wall, residence Ardmore.

C.A. BARLOW, carpenter, age 32, residence Temple, Texas.

REUBEN WARREN, 21, employe of the Pennington Co., killed in the
Pennington building, residence Ardmore.

CALLIS JOHNNY, age 19, Choctaw Indian, residence Provence;
killed near Santa Fe depot.

WILLIAM STALLCUP, age 45, laborer, body taken from the
Pennington Building.

Injured at Hardy Sanitarium

Walt Williams, Mrs. R.B. Jackson, Jesse Toland, Miss Worsham, C.G. Jones, S.L. Maxwell, H.L. Tucker, Mrs. Cloir, E.L. Perry, J.J Foster, Mrs. N.L. Hill, Mr. Holibee, Jim Beasley, O.W. Miller, Miss. Miller, Walter Graham, M.H. Wisenhunt, A.H. Cornell, Collin Mitchell, Newton Burton, Mr. Collier, and Walter Messenger.

Dead Among the Negroes

ALBERT WRIGHT, ALLEN RUBY, CLYDE BONNER, ABRAHAM BENJAMIN, _______METCALF, ALBERT WASHINGTON, DR. SPARKS, BENNY WALTERS, TAYLOR STENNELL, S.B. BERRYMAN, RICHARD BRINGHAM, MRS. G.A. KENYON, of Greenville, Texas, GLADYS KENYON, JIM HICKERSON, WILLIE DENTON.

The Negroes reported to be seriously injured are Jim Beasley, Will Lang, Thomas Thompson, and Felix White.

Memorial dedicated at the Ardmore Depot.



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