Not being a native to Boston I am always on the look out for some interesting tidbit or event that will give me an unsderstanding as to why things are the way they are here.
I came across this event:
The Great Molasses Flood
and the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy
, occurred on January 15, 1919, in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. A large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph
(56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event has entered local folklore, and residents claim that on hot summer days, the area still smells of molasses.
With a diameter of 90 feet and 50 feet high, the iron tank could hold about 2½ million gallons of molasses, ready to be distilled into rum or industrial alcohol.
Whatever caused the explosion, the tank gave out a dull roar, and then its two sides flew outward with a mighty blast. One huge piece knocked out the support of an elevated railway, buckling the tracks. An engineer stopped his train just in time to avoid an even worse disaster. Fragments of metal landed 200 feet away.
Besides sending shrapnel whizzing through the air, the explosion flattened people, horses and buildings with a huge shockwave. As some tried to get to their feet, the sudden vacuum where the tank once was created a reverse shockwave, sucking air in and knocking people, animals and vehicles around once more, and shaking homes off their foundations.
That was just the first few seconds. The real terror was about to begin.
The tank had been filled to near capacity, and 2.3 million gallons of thick, heavy, odorous molasses formed a sticky tsunami that started at 25 or 30 feet high and coursed through the streets at 35 mph. Victims couldn't outrun it. It knocked them into buildings and other obstacles, it swept them off their feet, and it pulled them under to drown in a viscous, suffocating, brown death.
Approximately 150 were injured; 21 people and several horses were killed — some were crushed and drowned
by the molasses. The wounded included people, horses, and dogs; coughing fits became one of the most common ailments after the initial blast.
While I find this interesting what is more important is that is where I get my pastries Mike's Bake Shop and some chow...
Here are some pics.
Boston's 1919 molasses-tank explosion turned this elevated train structure into a twisted mass of metal.