"It was quite an explosion," says Waterhouse.
39 people died. 20 were so disfigured, crews couldn't identify them.
"It was just a shame. It was just so sad," says Waterhouse.
Now, a memorial headstone marks their remains at the Oak Lawn Cemetery. That's the town's only marker.
More than eight decades later, still no one knows for sure what caused the blast.
"Most of the others just didn't want to talk about it," says Waterhouse.
Only 3,500 people lived in West Plains in 1928. Nearly everyone was affected by the deaths. Their descendents say talking was just too painful.
"They just moved on," says Waterhouse.
Now, a title company runs its business at an unassuming location, in a building re-built on the site of the explosion.
The only physical scars from the blast, still left on the town, were recently discovered. Toney Aid found them when he rehabbed the old West Plains Bank building. Now, the building is mostly office space.
"We found the burned places," says Aid, pointing out a charred floor.
The floor was burnt by falling embers, a result of the blast.
"The brick all came in and the ceiling burned, so the embers fell down through," says Aid.
The building has truely stood the test of time. It's the only surrounding building, from 1928, that's still standing. Even the courthouse, which is farther from the explosion, was so damaged, crews rebuilt it.
The old bank building stands as the fina witness to West Plains' biggest mystery.
"Last of the survivors died back in the 90's..." says Waterhouse.
Lin Waterhouse's book, "The West Plains Dance Hall Explosion," will be on bookstore shelves Tuesday, December 14th.
Check it out now on Amazon.com, or, if you're in West Plains, you will be able to pick up a copy at The Downtown Antique Mall on the square.