Explosives Plant "C"
Ground was broken on
Dec. 23, 1917


The History of Nitro, by Bill Wintz, local historian
Nitro was born a "Boom Town" during America’s mobilization for World War I. Its very name
stands as a reminder of its sudden and explosive beginning. Shortly after the United States
entered the war, it became apparent that America faced a critical shortage in gunpowder
production.  .
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Map of Nitro Outlining Explosives Plant C - The plant was divided up into "areas", each area
designed for a different purpose.  This map shows the location of each area.

Explosives Plant C Areas Legend - A listing of the designated "areas" within the city

Explosive Plant C Photos - The government took over 900 photos as the plant was being
built.  They were all numbered, dated and titled. Here are 90+ of the photos, taken from April
1918 through March 1919.  More will be added as they are found.  Some are scans of the
original photos and others are scans of copies.  Therefore, the quality varies greatly.

Base Hospital - a full-service, 300 bed hospital

Thompson-Starrett Company - Construction Managers for Explosives Plant C

Hercules Powder Company - Operating Company of Explosives Plant C

Minter Homes - built modular homes in Huntington, WV and shipped by rail to Nitro to assemble

Milk Plant - Sweet milk of the very highest grade, made from unmelted butter and milk
powders, was served daily in all the mess halls and delivered to all the Nitro bungalows.  50,000
pounds of fresh unmelted butter was required to start up the milk production.  The total cost of
the milk plant was approximately $100,000.
 

Precision Thermometer & Instrument - A 75 millimeter powder die isn't much larger than a
man's thumb when assembled complete. There is nothing spectacular about it. It didn't run Into
carload lots or millions of money, but they couldn't make powder without them.  It was this
instrument shop In Philadelphia that met the situation.

Standard Sanitary Manufacturing - sold the plumbing fixtures to the US Government - 2,500
water closet combinations consisting of porcelain bowl, wood tank and seat.  

Graham, Anderson, Probst & White - the Designing Engineers of Explosives Plant C.  

Swenson Evaporator Company - made a large caustic soda reclaiming outfit that took 30 car
loads to ship.

Miscellaneous Photos - Nitro Pin, Postage Stamp, etc.
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