Taino Gunpowder Mill - Atlas Obscura

Founded in 1914 by the French company Davey Bickford Smith, this gunpowder mill played an important role in the First and Second World Wars, producing all types of fuses used in weaponry, and projectiles of all sizes, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank warheads. During the 1930s and 1940s, this company reached its peak production, and it employed more than 2,000 people, a number that pretty much coincided with the entire population of Taino at the time.

The history of the village of Taino is inextricably intertwined with the history of the gunpowder mill. Initially, this company blew life into this diminutive village. It directly employed many villagers and indirectly benefitted a number of external service providers. But on July 27, 1935, it blew death into the village. One of the processing plants exploded and claimed the lives of 35 people. All that is known is that the main explosion occurred in the packing area. The locals had few other options for employment, so many returned to work at the powder mill.

In decline for decades, Taino Gunpowder Mill finally closed in 1972, and the property has been lying in a state of abandonment since its closure. After more than 50 years, the result is a cluster of crumbling buildings, deserted labs, and hazardous passageways lost in 70 hectares of overgrown vegetation. Ironically, the same vegetation that concealed and protected Taino Gunpowder Mill from aerial bombings during the two world wars is now engulfing and destroying it. 

The painful history of the place combined with its current eerie feel could not but give rise to legends. The most common rumor is that of ghosts haunting the site.  This is not surprising, considering that this site has attracted a sizable number of thrill seekers, satanic sect devotees, and graffiti artists.

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November 9, 2023

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