Episode 3: Slower Than Molasses

When an industrial tank collapsed in Boston’s North End in 1919, a wave of molasses destroyed the surrounding neighborhood.  21 people were killed and at least 150 were injured, along with an untold number of horses.  This tragedy is made all the worse by the fact that it was entirely preventable.  Find out more in this week’s episode!

Slower than molasses

Eleven dead, more than sixty injured, buildings and L tracks wrecked by explosion of big molasses tank [Boston Herald, January 16, 1919]

  • The image above, showing how news of the molasses disaster shared the front page with the impending ratification of Prohibition and the “awful German orgies” that we couldn’t mention on the podcast, is taken from this gallery by the Boston Public Library.
  • Stephen Puleo wrote an exhaustive book about the molasses flood called Dark Tide.

This week in Boston history

  • Here is a bootleg of U2’s second show in Boston, as they began their 1981 US tour.  Their Boston dates at the Paradise during their first US tour the year before helped launch the unknown band to international stardom.
  • The photo below shows Edward Everett’s letterbook copy of the note he wrote to Lincoln, congratulating him on the Gettysburg Address.

letterbook

2 thoughts on “Episode 3: Slower Than Molasses”

    1. It’s all part of Boston history… I could see a future episode on the Brinks robbery or the death of Charles “King” Solomon at the Cotton Club. Any favorite stories we should keep in mind?

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