#1002 Site of the First Dynamite Factory in United States


#1002 Site of the First Dynamite Factory in United States

Site information:

Glen Canyon Park, on Elk St, San Francisco


Plaque information:

State plaque

Plaque text:

The First Dynamite Factory in America

Giant Powder Company, under personal license of inventor Alfred Nobel, began producing dynamite here on March 19, 1868.  On November 26, 1869, a massive explosion leveled the complex's buildings and fences.  Giant Powder soon resumed operations in west San Francisco, and moved to its final site at Pt. Pinole in 1892.  As a pioneer company, Giant Powder was so influential that "Giant" became synonymous with "dynamite," a vital ingredient for California's early develiopment.

Historic site designated May 3, 1991.  Plaque placement approved August 17, 2017 as a result of a collaborative effort by the Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project, Twin Peaks Parlor No. 214 of the Native Sons of the Golden West, the Historical Preservation Foundation of the Native Sons of the Golden West, and San Francisco Recreation and Parks.

OHP description:

The first commercial manufacturing of dynamite in the U.S. occurred in what is now Glen Canyon Park. On March 19, 1868, the Giant Powder Company began production at its first manufacturing plant, under exclusive license from Alfred Nobel to produce his new explosive in America. The factory did not last long. On November 26, 1869, an explosion completely destroyed the entire facility, turning every one of the buildings on the place, and the surrounding fencing, into "hundreds of pieces," according to a newpaper account. The company moved its operations elsewhere, an action that was to be repeated again in the future under similar circumstances, until it moved to its permanent and final home at Point Pinole on San Pablo Bay.