WEST PLAINS, Mo. — On Friday, April 13, 1928, an explosion occurred in downtown West Plains. Thirty-nine people were killed in the explosion, and 22 people were injured. Twenty of those killed were never positively identified and were buried in a mass grave at Oak Lawn Cemetery in West Plains. 

Kaitlyn McConnell runs an online project called “Ozarks Alive“. One of the victims of the explosion caught McConnell’s attention–Kitty McFarland.

Kitty was only 31-years-old when she died, but already established a legacy in West Plains, according to McConnell. Kitty had taken on running her family’s undertaking company when she was 26 after her father-in-law and husband died within three weeks of each other.

She also opened a factory for “fashionable” burial robes several years before that and the day before the disaster, the local paper announced that she was going to open a new funeral home in West Plains.

Despite this month being the 94th anniversary of the disaster, the cause of the Bond Dance Hall explosion is still a mystery.