The Great Molasses Flood of 1919 Anniversary
Heres is the tale of one of the strangest disasters in our state history! Have you ever heard of the Great Molasses flood of 1919? At 12:45 in the afternoon on an unusually warm January 15th, 1919, Boston Police Patrolman Frank McManus could barely believe the words that he was saying: “Send all available rescue vehicles and personnel immediately. There’s a wave of molasses coming down Commercial Street!”
A five-story-tall cylindrical metal tank, 90 feet in diamater had burst. A two-story-tall wave containing 2.3 million gallons of molasses issued forth, traveling out in all directions like a shock-wave. The molasses spread across Boston at an estimated 35 miles per hour.The tidal wave of goo was so deadly; the tank ripped into sharp projectiles, and shot metal bolts from its sides like bullets.
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As the wave and debris crashed down Commercial Street, buildings were smashed to bits. Some were picked up by their foundations and floated away in the tide of molasses. Electrical poles keeled over, exposing live wires. A steel elevated train support beam was torn to smithereens. Molasses covered everything.The great Boston molasses flood killed 21 people.