Charlie’s Monday Makers ~ Episode 12: The Allegheny Arsenal and Pittsburgh Fortifications

by Oct 22, 2021Charlie's Monday Markers

On September 17, 1862, while the armies of the North and South wrestled to a bloody stalemate at Antietam in Maryland, a mighty explosion ripped through the Allegheny Arsenal in Lawrenceville killing 78 workers, mostly women and girls who worked there filling cartridges, shells, and canisters with powder. A teamster horse’s iron shoes probably ignited the black powder not cleaned up due to the push for increased production. Workers had protested the lack of housecleaning and the new hard stone roadway to the facility. In a tragic coincidence, the bloodiest day in U.S. military history – the Battle of Antietam – was the same day as the worst Civil War civilian accident, the Allegheny Arsenal explosion. The explosion was also the worst industrial accident inside Pittsburgh’s boundaries.


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