The Great Molasses Flood

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 15 Jan 1919 [unknown]
Location: Boston, Massachusettsmap
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In the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, on January 15, 1919, a leaky storage tank filled with 2.3 million US gal of molasses burst. The massive sticky wave wave of molasses that raced through the streets killed 21 and injured approximately 150 others. It is said that for decades afterwards you could still smell the molasses on hot days, especially in basements.

The wave took houses from their foundations and swept them away toward the sea. Even the tracks of the elevated railroad were destroyed by the force of the wave. Nearby firehouses came to the rescue, especially since one of their stations was destroyed by the wave, and there were men trapped underneath the building. The USS Nantucket and the Bessie J were in port and over 100 of their sailors helped with the rescue efforts. For the clean up, it was discovered that sea water worked much better than fresh water, so the Boston fireboat sprayed sea water onto the streets.

This category is for victims, survivors, rescue workers, tank workers and those involved in the 3 year court case that followed. Over 100 lawsuits were filed against U.S. Industrial Alcohol.


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