By telling stories from former U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot employees about daily tasks at the closed military base, Walt Miller brought its history to life.
Miller, a retired architect from Hastings, led a bus full of Adams Central eighth-graders and Good Samaritan Village residents on a tour of the NAD Wednesday morning.
The event was sponsored by a grant from the Sunnyside Foundation and supported by Senior Action Inc. and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension office in Adams County.
Miller presented a vivid picture of the guy who used a wood paddle to stir a large vat full of liquid TNT to be poured into depth charges. Even though the liquid explosive was stable, Miller said it was important not to allow bubbles because the gas emitted from bubbles was poisonous.
Everyone making munitions had to shower at the NAD before shifts and wear government-issue underwear that contained no metal as a way to avoid sparks and the potential for explosions.
The NAD encompassed 76 square miles in the northwest corner of Clay County and southeast Adams County.
Beginning in July 1942, 5,000 construction workers erected more than 2,000 buildings on the NAD grounds in a year.
The NAD continued to store ordnance until it closed June 30, 1966.