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New London, Texas: New London School Explosion Memorial

A natural gas explosion on March 18, 1937, killed around 300 students and teachers. A towering monument marks the site, and a museum across the street displays artifacts salvaged from the rubble.

Main St., New London, TX
In the median of Hwy 42 about a half-mile north of Hwy 323.
Museum M-F 9-4, Sa 10:30-3 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Monument: free. Museum: $5
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Visitor Tips and News About New London School Explosion Memorial

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New London School Explosion Monument

As others have said, the museum is awesome. And there's a good old fashioned cafe that serves fountain drinks. Definitely worth it. We just went there today and it was worth the 4 hour trip. The cemetery is worth visiting.

[Revbeej, 02/26/2017]

One museum highlight is a reproduction of a chalkboard found in the rubble, on which was written, "Oil and natural gas are East Texas' greatest mineral blessing. Without them this school would not be here and none of us would be here learning our lessons."


New London School Explosion Monument

Besides the massive cenotaph directly in front of the new school, the museum across the street is filled with artifacts, primary sources (films, audio recordings, etc), and stories. The volunteer docents have personal connections to the explosion and their tours add intimate insight to such an incomprehensible tragedy (Our guide lost a sister in the blast, and his parents ran the grocery store in town at the time). The cemetery where many victims are buried is just a few miles up the road as well.

[Carrie D, 07/31/2016]

New London School Explosion Monument

New London School Explosion Monument

A monument to the greatest school disaster in the U.S. is at the scene in New London, located in the median of Highway 42 across from the new school. An explosion on March 18, 1937 -- from a natural gas leak -- killed 311 students and teachers. There is a very good museum across the highway. The story was one of the first covered by news reporter Walter Cronkite, a young man at the time.

[Gerald D Massey, 07/13/2012]

Nearby Offbeat Places

The Discovery WellThe Discovery Well, Overton, TX - 3 mi.
Joe Roughneck MonumentJoe Roughneck Monument, Joinerville, TX - 4 mi.
East Texas Oil MuseumEast Texas Oil Museum, Kilgore, TX - 10 mi.
In the region:
Scarlett O'Hardy's Gone With the Wind Museum, Jefferson, TX - 50 mi.

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