Friday, January 28, 2005

"A wet, brown hell broke loose..."

I told you I'm hopelessly behind the times. My daughter, Melina, just alerted me to Boston's Molasses Disaster of January 15, 1919 during which a storage tank holding 2,300,000 gallons (14,000 tons) of molasses exploded. A huge wave of molasses, 15 feet high, proceeding at about 35 miles an hour, wiped out everything that stood in its way and killed 21 people. One section of the tank flew into a steel support of the El, which collapsed, almost taking with it an oncoming train. Another large piece of storage tank shrapnel knocked over a fire station.

According to Edwards Park's article (Smithsonian Nov 1983), downtown Boston was utterly flooded and for decades afterwards smelled like molasses.

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