The Great Molasses Flood of January 15, 1919

Today is the 100th anniversary of one of the biggest twentieth-century disasters in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. Genealogists normally like to study the current events of the times in which our ancestors lived. Wars are easy to study as they are well documented in history books. Yet other calamities of bygone times are often not so well known and documented.

One great disaster in the early twentieth century was the great Molasses Flood of January 15, 1919, in Boston, Massachusetts. This sounds humorous until one reads that 21 people died when an eight-foot high wall of molasses rolled down Commercial Street at a rather high speed. Two million gallons of crude molasses can move quickly when warmed by the sun. The result was an explosion heard many miles away.

Boston Post of January 16, 1919

Half-inch steel plates of the huge molasses tank were torn apart. The plates were propelled in all directions, hard enough to cut the girders of the elevated railway.

You could say that these unfortunate people were molassessed to death. That is not exactly how I wish to go.

You can read an account of this bizarre accident in Wikipedia at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Molasses_Flood.

2 Comments

I am reading Dark Tide which tells the complete story. Well written and enjoyable

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Death Certificates are here: http://digitalarchives.sec.state.ma.us/
Scroll down to “Recently Added”

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