On this Day in 1959: Bomb explodes at Poe Elementary School

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A tragic day in history unfolded at Poe Elementary on September 15, 1959 (KTRK)

It was September 15th, 1959, when an ex-convict, Paul Orgeron, 49, showed up on the campus of Edgar Allen Poe Elementary with his seven-year-old son and a suitcase packed with dynamite.

He was angry that he couldn't enroll his son in school because he didn't have the proper paperwork.

Orgeron handed a teacher a note and then triggered the bomb.

KTRK Film Archive: Children return to school after bombing at Poe Elem.
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KTRK archive film of the bombing at Poe Elementary



When he detonated the homemade bomb, it killed Orgeron and his son, along with two other students, a teacher and a custodian. Eighteen others were hurt, including two students who lost limbs.

One of the victims of the explosion was teacher Jennie Kolter. Kolter's son William was chief resident at Hermann Hospital that day and remembers having to pronounce his mother dead. HISD named Kolter Elementary after Jennie. Montgomery Elementary was named after one of the other victims of the blast, custodian James Arlie Montgomery.

KTRK Film Archive: Interview with ex-wife of Poe Elem. bomber
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From the KTRK film archive: 1959 interview with ex-wife of Poe Elementary School bomber.



The other victims of the explosion were Dusty Paul Orgeron, son of the bomber, and two students, seven-year-old William S. Hawes, Jr., and eight-year-old John Cecil Fitch, Jr.

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Melanie Lawson 2012 report on anniversary of Poe Elementary School bombing in 1959



Special thanks to the Houston Metropolitan Research Center of the Houston Public Library
Related Topics:
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