Nantucket Residents Warned About Possible Unexploded WWII Bombs

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A beach in Madaket Harbor, Nantucket. (iStock/Getty Images Plus/John Santoro)

NANTUCKET (WBZ-AM) -- It was a time of war--and the Army was bombing ... Nantucket?

Parts of the island were used as a test range for bombs and rockets during World War II and into the late 1940s. That's why the Army Corps of Engineers sent out a letter to residents in the Madaket area warning them that their properties might be sitting on top of unexploded ordnances.

Madaket Conservation Association President Bill Grieder tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bill Marcus that the bombs have been the topic of conversation, but so far, neighbors aren't too concerned. 

"I haven't seen anybody that's, you know, locked their cats and dogs up and said that they can't go out in the yard," Grieder said. "I'm sure if I lived in the immediate area, my wife would be buying me a pogo stick and telling me to go out and check the yard. It's a serious subject, but people, I think, are taking it with a grain of salt." 

He said he's not sure what caused the notice to come out now, but he thinks if there were any bombs, they would have been found already.

"There's been so much development since the forties that, you know, if there were a lot of these things kicking around, they probably would have, unfortunately, been discovered the hard way."

The Army Corps tends to agree--with a colonel with the Corps reportedly saying the leftover bombs on Nantucket right now are a low priority. The letters have generated some interesting memories, though--Grieder said one resident told him about how a plane doing a strafing run surprised him and his friends when they were boys.

"His dad did the immediate reaction, which in those days was, get into his car and drive to town to the closest phone," Grieder said. "There's actually folks that have experienced that."

As for now, he's thinking the island could capitalize on it.

"We are the land of festivals," Grieder said. "I'm thinking we could have a bomb festival, with a t-shirt that says 'I got bombed in Nantucket'."

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bill Marcus reports

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