Remembering The Past: Morgan Explosion

Remembering the Past by Diane Norek HarrisonBy Diane Norek Harrison

SAYREVILLE-During World War I, munitions makers came to the Parlin and Morgan sections of Sayreville to set up plants. On October 5, 1918, blasts at the T.A. Gillespie shell-loading plant lasted 14 hours, terrified people for 30 miles, broke windows, killed 100 people and cost $25 million. Even in 2000, the Army Corps of Engineers continued digging remnants of the blast from the soil in Sayreville. Some believe the explosions were an act of sabotage.

From another source: Morgan is the Pompeii of New Jersey. Here are the ruins of a munitions plant destroyed during the World War by a Vesuvian upheaval of TNT. Its only archeologists are the junkmen who unearth bits of metal and building material from the debris. When the explosion occurred, shell fragments showered the country for miles, and windows were broken in Newark.

Morgan’s name has been kept alive by a railroad station and a concentration of boats and small docks at the inlet.

If you have your own memories or past material for any town in Middlesex or Union counties, email me at or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media, 1139 East Jersey St., Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ 07201


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