On March 4, 1897, a giant explosion rocked the corner of Tremont Street and Boylston across from Boston Common. Ten people were killed, and dozens were injured. How did construction of America’s first subway lead to this disaster? And why was it so difficult for survivors to get compensation for their injuries? Listen to the show to find out! And be sure to stay tuned to the end, so you can find out how to win a free walking tour with hosts Nikki and Jake.
The Tremont Street Explosion
Destruction after the explosion on March 4, 1897 (all photos via Digital Commonwealth)
The test track constructed for the Meigs Elevated Railway. (monorail, monorail, monoraiiiiiiiiiil!)
Resistance to the subway plan
- The Boston Globe’s March 5, 1897 coverage of the explosion, from Boston Fire History.
- A view of the explosion site in 1897 and 2014.
- The 2009 Readville gas explosion, a 2011 followup, and the final settlement in 2015.
- Compare that to this 1900 appeal in the Wolfe Koplan case.
- The Race Underground, by Doug Most
- A City So Grand, by Stephen Puleo
This Week in Boston History
- Coverage of the March 20, 1760 “great fire” in Boston.
- Our episode about Katherine Nanny Naylor, whose family was driven from Massachusetts Bay Colony alongside Anne Hutchinson on March 22, 1638.
- Abigail Adams’ March 22, 1794 letter to John, dictating how she would run their farm for the year.
- Josiah Quincy’s moment by moment coverage of the evacutating British fleet’s movements on March 25, 1776.
- Our show about smallpox inoculation, which wiped out the Pawtucket tribe whose Sagamores visited Boston on March 26, 1631.