One Families Connection to the Hercules Powder Factory of
Kenvil, New Jersey and the disaster of 1940

Our main Hercules page has good background on the disaster. But the 1940 Explosion at the Hercules plant at Kenvil, NJ affected many more families beyond the 51 killed in the horrible event. We recently received this note, and Carl will be following up with more scans of old Hercules photos.


"My name is Carl L. Anderson III. I’m 68 years old and live now in Ewing, NJ. However, I was born and raised in Dover and Mine Hill and spent a lot of time as a child in Kenvil. My Grandfather, Carl Anderson Sr., was transferred to the Kenvil plant from Emporium, Pennsylvania. He was an immigrant from Sweden. My grandparents, Carl and Anna Anderson lived in Hercules Company housing on Hercules Road. My father worked for Hercules for many years till his death in 1967. My Dad was the plant photographer. His name was also Carl L. Anderson. As a kid I sort of grew up hearing a lot of history about Kenvil and Hercules and especially the explosion of September 12th, 1940. Several years ago I became very ill with an infection that resulted in becoming the recipient of two organ transplants. During the recovery time I used my guitar and song writing to have something to focus on. One of the things I wanted to write about with that 1940 explosion. I have attached an MP3 of that song. (Linked below)  It also can be found on my CD, “Song To Soul” by Papa Carl. This is just me and a guitar and my memories of the stories I heard. I hope you enjoy it. I have recently been able to share it with some others from the Kenvil area and have been told it recalls the event fairly well. Of course, I was not born till four years after this event...but I can assure you that between my Dad, his brother (Uncle Cliff Anderson) and my Grandfather, I heard a lot of stories from them about this. Many have told me this song in particular appeals to them. It is as I remember it...and when I sing it I can visualize my Grandfather and some of his friends telling the story of that day.



Free Song MP3 Download



For Music & Transplant Info:  

Marshall Henderson is pictured at right in 1950. He was a Hercules employee and the man who took care of the mules used to haul small loads and rail cars at Hercules. My Dad used him as a model for a photo that won “Best In Show” in a Hercules Company Wide Photography Contest in 1950.


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