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You Dropped A Bomb On Me

A cache by allhearts and Cherbear 132 Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 8/8/2015
1.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: small (small)

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Geocache Description:

This is a Medium pill bottle with room for small swag exchange. Nice large, safe parking area. Good Luck.
Make sure to watch for Critters as you search, as well as stickers. This is New Mexico and it is known for critter activity. <3

My family and I thought that this would be a great place to put a cache as we made the container a year ago but have not been able to place it until now. We have been enjoying the activity and mostly enjoy finding cache’s with swag in them. We really needed a few more on this road so though we would aid the cause, so to speak. Tolar, New Mexico located two miles east of this location and has the distinction of being the only town in the USA to be bombed out of existence in World War II. Not that it was a large town at the time. The explosion left a crater about 20-feet deep and 60-feet wide. The town of Tolar was pretty much obliterated. The explosion was not caused by acts of terrorism from counties the USA was at war with but by a simple “hot box” accidental rail road disaster. At Noon on Nov. 30, 1944, a train of 81 cars was traveling west out of Clovis. This particular train was carrying, mattresses, other household supplies, and flammable liquids as well as about 165 - 500-pound bombs (big - enough to fill four B-29 bombers) that were designated for military operations in World War II. As the train was slowing, the fuel oil tanker broke off and jumped track along with 36 other cars, starting a fire that spread quickly through the wooden box cars. Around 46 tons of high explosives went off 100 yards from the center of Tolar. Out of the approximately 30 Tolar residents only six were in town at the time of the explosion. The Children were at school in the neighboring town of Taiban, NM just a few miles west of here. While other Tolar residents were either at work out of the area or out of town running errands. Jess Brown had been shopping about 50 yards from the train wreck when it exploded. He was struck in the head by a piece of iron shrapnel and died about an hour later. His son, Melvin Brown was at school with the other children in Taiban when the bombs went off. Even though he was only 8 the day his father died, he still remembers the details. “We handled it the best we could,” he said. A train axle flung by the blast crashed through the family home. He said there was an exodus from Tolar following the explosion, and many residents moved to Fort Sumner, Melrose or Clovis. But Melvin Brown’s family remained in Tolar because his mother had a job driving the school bus to Taiban. Also at the scene that day was a Clovis railroad conductor named Darry Winn. His grandson Dennis Winn said the first generation Clovis railroader found a phone and called the dispatch in Clovis, asking for another engine to be sent to pull the cars at the train’s rear away from the wreckage. The fuel car was burning now, and Darry Winn knew bombs were on board. He just didn’t know where they were, his grandson said. In one of the wrecked cars, beer bottles were exploding from the heat of the fire. The fire reached the bombs as Darry Winn was walking along the side of the train, and a tremendous explosion blew the entire scene to smithereens, shooting debris high into the air, breaking windows and caving in the roofs of nearby homes. The blast knocked Darry Winn off his feet and threw him under one of the cars. When the explosion happened, the conductor was only three cars away from the bombs, his grandson said, and was very lucky to be alive. Dennis Winn, a railroader himself, recalls what his grandfather said about the amazing explosion rising in the sky. One car destroyed was carrying mattresses bound for California. “He said it just looked like fireworks,” Dennis Winn said. “Those feathers, when it blow’d up, they just caught on fire and were tricklin’ down.” In the 1965 interview, Darry Winn said “The pieces looked to be several hundred feet up in the sky. Each piece was floating straight down and smoking. They looked like little stars on fire.” Investigators began questioning those at the scene, including Darry Winn. The government didn’t give up the investigation too quickly, however. Even into the 1960s, Darry Winn had to deal with occasional inquiries by federal law enforcement, his grandson said. Even though he was cleared of any wrongdoing by the railroad and by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, over the years Darry Winn was questioned at least five times by federal agents about the cause of the explosion, according to his grandson. Johnny Eastwood of Clovis said his parents were in Tolar the day of the blast. “The town practically vanished in that period,” he said. Eastwood recalls the short period of speculation that followed the explosion. There was some caution about that. They ruled that out totally, it was a hot box,” Eastwood said. “I think that was just medium talk the first day.” Almost every house or building in town was either destroyed or damaged substantially. One resident had to jump out of her store as a 1,500-pound axle hurtled toward her, crashing through the roof of her store and out the back. The blast, which leveled nearly every building in town, could be heard 60 miles away. A motorist driving on US HWY 60-84 had all four tires blown out when the shock wave hit him. There were reports of dishes rattling 52 miles away in Farwell. As far away as Hereford, Texas, some say they heard the explosion. The story appearing in the Dec. 1, 1944, edition of the Clovis News Journal ran alongside a story entitled, “Seventh Japanese Convoy Destroyed.” Even though most of Tolar was wiped out in the disaster, the main headline on the paper that day was “Gains Are Made by Three American Armies.” World War II was on, and the bloodiest sieges of the war were taking place. The article appearing in the News Journal the day after the explosion was laden with military imagery. Journalist Alabam Sumner led with the line, “Indirectly bringing the war into our own front yards, so to speak, the catastrophic fire and subsequent explosions on the Santa Fe tracks at Tolar Thursday gave folks a small idea of what the majority of the world’s nations are now undergoing as an outcome of this, the second World War.” Responding to the general paranoia, Sumner wrote, “Tolar was not a target of an enemy bomber … This is only a small portion of damage in the eyes of people who have undergone bombings for years.” It may not have been as catastrophic as Tokyo or Dresden, but Tolar wasn’t a target, either. Railroad historian Randy Dunson grew up nearby. He’s the one who convinced the State Transportation Department to put up a marker for Tolar. “The train derailed right in the middle of Tolar,” Dunson said. A piece of the Train is sitting at this site donated by Johnny Eastwood. It is one of the only “Official Scenic Historic Markers” to have a piece of history displayed with it in New Mexico.

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Guvf vf ab oheavat ohfu.

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