Today Marks 100 Years Since Boston’s ‘Great Molasses Flood’
If you've lived in the northeast for a while and haven't yet heard of the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, what better time to learn about it than its Centennial anniversary?
You read that right; Boston was overcome by a devastating flood on January 15th, 1919 by... molasses. According to Stephen Puleo, historian and author of “Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919.”, Boston Fire Department patrolman Frank McManus was reporting back to headquarters from a call box when he heard scraping and grinding and looked up to see a wall of molasses rushing down Commercial street.
While it sounds like a cartoonish disaster, the flood was actually a devastating nightmare. A massive, 50-foot-high steel tank holding the molasses had ruptured and anyone in its direct path were immediately caught and drowned by the sticky, viscous liquid.
The tank broke because the guy in charge of it had "no technical experience, no architectural experience, no engineering experience." He was the treasurer for a U.S. Industrial Alcohol subsidiary called Purity Distilling Co. that rushed to build the tanks in order to store and distill molasses used abroad for making dynamite and other explosives used in World War I.