Thursday, December 29, 2005

1854 Explosion Brings History Full Circle

On August 13, 1854, the Maysville Express reported the following:

"Last night at 2:15 a.m. the magazine situated on the Maysville & Lexington turnpike road at the lower end of the city was fired by miscreants unknown, and its contents, eight hundred kegs of blasting and rifle powder, were burned, causing a terrific explosion and great destruction of property. Not a house in the city of Maysville. East Maysville, or Aberdeen escaped injury. A stone weighing 43 pounds was found in Aberdeen 1 1/3 miles from the spot. The explosion was heard at Popular Plains, 22 miles distance; on a steamboat 42 miles up the river; at Hillsboro, Ohio, 40 miles away; the whole body of water in the Ohio River surged toward the Ohio shore, rising suddenly and deep on that shoreline; in the Maysville Cotton Mill, 1200 lights of glass shattered. Damage was in excess of $200,000. No one was killed and very few injuries."

This particular story is pretty cool because if you have a look at the buildings downtown, some of them still have craters in the side of the building from this blast. They say that the scars on a man are the record of his history. These scars on the buildings from the 1854 explosion are the direct experience of Maysville history that you won't find by simply reading a book. If you know the story of why there's a crater in the side of the building, and you take the time to go and look at it, you are connected to history like this:

Crater in side of building in 2006 = Evidence of an explosion in 1854 of a weapons magazine = Same weapons magazine that could have housed weapons for the Union during Civil War = When Civil War breaks out weapons have to be transported through Maysville because of the loss of weapons less than ten years earlier = More transportation through area creates a boom = More interest in surrounding area because of its strategic Ohio River location = Greater commerce and stability = Growth = Present day population and economic status = Why there's a Super Walmart located here

It's amazing how a simple chance of fate or accident in 1854 leads to a Super Walmart. But that's history for you. It's an ever evolving dramatic unfolding of events more interesting than any movie or novel ever released. So please, everyone when they get a chance, head downtown, touch a crater in the side of a building, and become a part of history.

posted at 1:06 PM by Jeremy Parnell