January 4, 2018

Great Molasses Flood

The Great Molasses flood occurred in Boston in January 1919. A tank explosion causes a sea of Molasses to cover parts of the North End of Boston.

Boston Molasses
Location of the United States Industrial Alcohol Company is now a Park and Ice Rink.

Eleven things I learned about the Boston Molasses Disaster

  • Molasses was used to manufacture industrial alcohol for the First World War.
  • The Molasses Disaster occurred on the night of January 15, 1919 (406 days after the Halifax Explosion)
  • 2,500,000 gallons of Molasses was spilled around the corner of Commercial Street and Charter Street
  • Twenty One Lives were lost because of the collapse of the Molasses containers. (50 injured)
  • In 1925,the United States Industrial Alcohol Company settled a pending lawsuit and agreed to pay an unspecified amount of damages. (Estimated $500,000 to $1,000,000) That would be equivalent to $6,973,665.58 $13,947,331.16 in 2016 value.
  • Individual claims against death of victims got $7,000 each ($98,667.60 in 2017)
  • The cause of the disaster was the tanks weren't designed to hold more than 2,500,000 gallons. There should have been a "factor of safety" and the containers should have been built to hold more weight.
  • Boston Building Standards and Zoning laws were drastically changed because of the disaster.
  • The United States Industrial Alcohol Company had claimed that it wasn't an accident and was caused by anarchists. Several ships were lost at sea in mysterious ways.
  • The area where the tank was located is now the Steriti Rink. You may hear stories about locals still smelling Molasses on a hot day - it's a false lengend.
  • There is a proposal to build a monument to the victims on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

A list of the fatalities can be found on Wikipedia.

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