94 years ago today, in the North End neighborhood of Boston, citizens faced a nearly-30ft wave of molasses, resulting in 21 fatalities and a myriad of severe injuries.
Yup. A wave. Of molasses.
The North End at that time was home to ‘The Gassy,’ a five-story crude molasses holding tank erected by the U.S. Industrial Alcohol (USIA) in order to facilitate more efficient rum production in the area. The massive container, though useful in its placement, was later found to have been built hastily with sub-standard steel plates. When leaks were reported by concerned workers and citizens, little was done to repair the damage. This corporate oversight later caused one of the most famous ‘contemporary’ disasters in Boston’s history.
The rupture occurred right after lunchtime- when local workers had re-situated themselves around “the gassy” for the rest of the day.
[Click on the image above for more visual history of the flood]
Some North End residents say that on a hot summer day, you can still smell the sweet historical residue lingering in the air.