The Peabody Explosion of 1915

In the early hours of 21 June, 1915, residents of Walkerville awoke to a frightening noise- the Peabody Leather Label Overall Company had been bombed. Although Peabody had contracts with the British Army to produce uniforms for troops since the onset of World War I in 1914, it came as a surprise that Walkerville would be the target of such malicious actions.

With the shocking realization that the warfront was now in Canada, many speculated that this was the work of German sympathizers. Authorities soon discovered the source of the bomb, which had been placed in hole underneath the building.

Authorities were suspicious of German sympathizers in Detroit, headed by leader Albert Kaltschmidt, Authorities identified night watchman William Lefler as the main suspect. Lefler, through his friendship to Kaltschmidt, travelled to Detroit to collect two bombs which were to be brought back to Canada- one for the Peabody building and the other for the Windsor armoury.

Fortunately, the armoury bomb failed to detonate; however, the Peabody explosion caused substantial physical damage and communal distress.

Lefler confessed his part in the crime as well as name his co-conspirators, which led to Kaltschmidt’s arrest.

The building was repaired and went on to house multiple companies until its demolition in 1985.


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