Commonly known as the Cornhusker Ordnance Plant, the facility opened in 1942 and covered nearly 20 square miles. During World War II it produced artillery shells and various bombs weighing up to 2,000 pounds apiece. An explosion on May 26, 1945, killed nine people, leveled a building, and was felt in nearby towns of Cairo and Wood River. The cause was unknown. The plant ceased operations the day after Japan’s surrender, but was reactivated during the Korean and Vietnam wars.