"Zeroing In on Mystery of an Old Site Called Hades"

"WASHINGTON, DC -- For decades, affluent families have flocked to Spring Valley, a quiet neighborhood hugging the northwestern boundary of the nation’s capital. True to its name, magnolias are blooming and daffodils carpet the yards. But during World War I, soldiers called it Death Valley. It was here that the Army cooked up chemical weapons, launched poison-packed mortar shells and sent gas clouds billowing over the fields."

"When the war ended, soldiers buried the fearsome chemicals and munitions in pits that the Army forgot existed.

Now, the cleanup of what was known as the American University Experiment Station is nearing a crucial point. This spring, the Army Corps of Engineers plans to tear down a house that may be atop a lost burial pit that an Army sergeant called “Hades” in a grainy 1918 photograph."

Theo Emery reports for the New York Times March 17, 2012.

Source: NY Times, 03/20/2012