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Molasses in January: WAY Faster Than You Think.

June 27, 2009

Streeter Seidell, a comedian, College Humor editor, and creator of the dead-on First World petty complaint aggregator White Whine has a knack for finding obscure (to me anyways*) historical disasters on his personal blog. It’s with great shame that I must admit to missing the 90th anniversary of The Great Boston Molasses Disaster back in January.

The El Got De-elevated By A Sugar Rush

The El Got De-elevated By A Sugar Rush

Perhaps this is a well-known event in Boston history, but, if so, why haven’t they been telling the rest of us about it?? The story is simple yet amazing and one, I believe,  best told in bullet points:

  • It happened on an unusually warm day in January.
  • The container was 50 feet in diameter and contained 2,300,000 US gallons!
  • The molasses tsunami was 8 to 15 feet high and rushed through the streets at 35 miles per hour!
  • 21 people were killed and 150 were ‘injured’ — which I imagine means they were all stuck together.
  • The Elevated Train was lifted off it’s tracks and a truck was hurled into Boston Harbor.
  • It took over 87,000 man hours to clean the goo off of the streets, business, cars, cats, dogs, you-name-it.
  • Some folks say the area still smells like molasses occasionally. If only New Yorkers could have so easily identified a similar smell!

I’ll stop here because there are just way to many startling aspects to this event. Do yourself a favor and read every tantalyzing line of what might be the most captivating Wikipedia entry ever. Nearly every sentence is unbelievable.

Gookleur Fallout

Gookleur Fallout

*UPDATE: I’ve just been advised that every schmuck in the freakin world knows about this besides me.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. burnes permalink
    June 30, 2009 10:25 PM

    Oh man, I was just on that very site a month ago! We were on the way to Iceland and laid over in Boston for a day – we walked around North End and watched a little league game and some bocce on the very spot where that happened! It wasn’t until I saw the wikipedia map that I realized where it was.

    And yes, many of us learned about this event as kids from little blurbs in “Weekly Reader” and like publications. It was always in a “Would You Believe…” kinda section. They never mentioned horses drowning in those articles, though.

  2. June 30, 2009 10:35 PM

    Wow – That’s so cool! That’s great that you remember it from childrens publications. I probably saw it too and just don’t remember. Also, I looked at some of your Iceland photos – AMAZING.

    • burnes permalink
      July 7, 2009 11:10 PM

      Start planning your trip. It’s way better than the camera allows.

  3. dookieplatters permalink
    July 7, 2009 3:14 PM

    That is a sticky situation.

  4. dookieplatters permalink
    July 7, 2009 3:16 PM

    Also, I suppose news of this event has been spreading rather slowly.

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