Morris History: 1926 Picatinny Arsenal Lightning Strike Caused Devastating Explosions

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Learn About the Disaster that Rocked Morris County at March 22 Event 

When lightning struck the Navy surplus cache at Lake Denmark Powder Depot on a hot July evening,1926, millions of pounds of explosives detonated turning the forested lands into a lunar landscape complete with craters.

In addition to structural and landscape devastation, loss of life, and loss of military resources, the event is considered one of the worst manmade explosions in U.S. history.

At a special presentation on Sunday, March 22, at 1:30 p.m., Picatinny Arsenal Cultural Resource Manager Jason Huggan will describe how the local landscape and the additional storage of ammunition and explosives left over from World War I intensified the disaster lending the site a war-zone appearance.

Huggan also will discuss sweeping legislation and munitions operational changes that resulted from the disaster.

Additionally, He will share recently discovered and digitized newsreel footage documenting the carnage.

Due to limited seating, advance registration and payment is required by Wednesday, March 18. Tickets for this event is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $7 for students, and free for children younger than 12 and MCHS members.

MCHS is located at Acorn Hall, 68 Morris Ave., Morristown, and is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sundays, 1-4 p.m.

Admission, which includes the exhibits and grounds, is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for students, and is free for children younger than 12 and MCHS members. For more information, call (973) 267-3465 or visit

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