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News and Information from the Ruth Enlow Library

Stories of B-52 Bomber Crash


Whilbr, Western Maryland’s Historical Library website, now contains stories of the B-52 bomber crash in Garrett County on January 13, 1964. The plane, with a crew of five and two thermonuclear bombs, crashed in a snow storm on Big Savage Mountain, near Grantsville, and the result was a massive search for the location of the bomber and for the crew, four of whom had ejected from the plane. The military were heavily involved in the search and rescue, but the people of Garrett and Allegany Counties in Maryland and Somerset County, Pennsylvania joined in to walk through deep snow looking for parachutes, plow the roads for the search personnel to travel more easily, run telephone line, and feed the large number of people participating.

The Whilbr collection comprises stories published at the time by The Republican in Oakland, Garrett County and the Cumberland newspapers – the Cumberland Evening Times, Cumberland News, Cumberland Sunday Times and later the Cumberland Times-News.  Both towns also reported on all commemorative events. In addition, several in-depth articles about the events are included, bringing the perspective of time to the story.

The website allows one to see how the events of that very cold and eventful January were reported at the time, with the concern for human lives but also the initial fear of the potential nuclear threat that the bombs posed. One can read the stories chronologically using the browse feature, or search for an individual. The crash of the B-52 bomber will be commemorated Saturday, July 12, 2014 in Grantsville.

The stories are available at Whilbr or from the Ruth Enlow Library History and Genealogy page (scroll down to the Whilbr link and select it).

The Whilbr website features images of original source documents from the collections of the public libraries, historical societies, and individuals in Western Maryland.  Its purpose is to display Western Maryland-related historical documents, images, audio, and video.  Western Maryland Regional Library provides support and materials for the continued enhancement of resources available through the Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County, the Allegany County Library System, and the Washington County Free Library System.

For additional information, contact Jill Craig, Digitization Librarian, at jcraig@wmrl.info.