Texas December 13, 2017
7 Horrifying Texas Stories You Didn’t Learn About In History Class
No matter how normal a place might look on the surface, rest assured that if it has a history, it isn’t an entirely happy one. Below you’ll find seven of the most horrifying disasters, both natural and man-made, that occurred right here in the Lone Star State. Chances are you didn’t learn about these in history class.
1. Texas City Disaster (1947)
April 16, 1947 is a day that will forever go down in infamy. The SS Grandcamp exploded while docked in Texas City, igniting the highly flammable ammonium nitrate on board. The entire ship and surrounding areas were completely destroyed, and the smoke caused problems throughout the entire city. Approximately 580 people lost their lives that day.
2. New London School Explosion (1937)
This catastrophe was also an explosion caused by a natural gas leak in the basement of this Rusk County school. It killed over 300 people - about half of the school's entire population. To this day, it's the worst school disaster in U.S. history.
3. The Great Storm of 1900 in Galveston
Making landfall on September 8, 1900, this infamous storm killed between 8,000 and 12,000 people. It's the deadliest natural disaster in American history to date, and sparked the creation of the seawall that now exists in Galveston. The storm was a Category 4 with sustained winds of 145 mph (although the ranking system did not yet exist), and racked up a price tag of $104.3 billion.
4. Delta Airlines Flight 191 Crash (1985)
The crash took place at the DFW International Airport on August 2, 1985. It was a rainy night, and the aircraft hit a microburst, or a certain type of downdraft that's difficult to navigate. 136 passengers were killed on impact, and a mere 27 survived.
5. Central Texas Flood (1921)
The remnants of a hurricane produced a catastrophic flood that dumped over 38 inches of rainfall on San Antonio and Austin within a 24-hour period. Although Hurricane Harvey broke that record this year, we must not forget about this tragedy that claimed the lives of over 200 and cost over $10 million in damage.
6. Phillips Petroleum Explosion (1989)
One fateful morning in late October of 1989, a polyethylene reactor exploded at this Pasadena plant due to inadequate safety precautions. There was no system in place to detect leaks, so the 85,000 pounds of gas that filled the plant went unnoticed until it actually ignited. 23 people died and another 130 were injured in the disaster.
7. Waco Tornado (1953)
This disastrous F5 tornado left a 23-mile path of destruction that destroyed over 500 homes and many additional buildings. Over 100 people died and nearly 600 others were injured. The tornado was 1/3 mile wide and is still the deadliest in Texas history.
Have you heard of any of these? What other terrible things happened in Texas that aren’t commonly talked about in history class?