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Iowa History Daily: March 7 - Cedar Rapids Cereal Plant Explosion of 1905

Iowa History Daily: On March 7, 1905, a massive explosion ripped through the American Cereal Company plant in Cedar Rapids. The subsequent fire threatened the downtown business district as local firefighters and volunteers raced against the flames to save the city.

The American Cereal Company, officially formed in 1888 when a merger brought together several Cedar Rapids area oat mills, stood as the largest cereal mill in the world at the time of the accident. 

At 7:30 p.m. a massive blast rippled through the factory, throwing employee George Wordon across the room. The subsequent fire raged out of control, and the flames quickly threatened the downtown business district. Without a modern fire engine, firefighters from local towns raced to help put out the blaze and soak surrounding buildings to prevent the spread of flames.

Two men passed away as a result of injuries sustained during the explosion and subsequent fire. Attributed after investigation to spontaneous combustion, The American Cereal Company vowed to rebuild an ever larger plant. The following year, a change officially renamed the corporation The Quaker Oats Company. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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