January 15, 2015 | Barb Carr

Remembering an Accident: Boston Molasses Disaster

On January 15, 1919, the North end of Boston was one of the most congested neighborhoods in the entire world. There were about 40,000 people in a one mile square of geographic space. When a large molasses tank burst and a huge wave of molasses rushed through the streets at approximately 35 mph, 150 people were injured and 21 were killed.

Theories ensued after the disaster. Some said the tanks were intentionally set to explode by anarchists, and others believed the fermenting of the molasses led to the explosion. In the end, it was discovered the person who oversaw the construction of the tank wasn’t an engineer or an architect. He couldn’t even read a blueprint!

According to folklore, residents claim that on a hot summer day, the area still smells of molasses.

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