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Of all the things that could go wrong on the T today, a molasses flood probably isn't one of them

Twisted subway tracks after Great Molasses Flood of 1919

Among other things, the Great Molasses Flood took out the elevated subway tracks that ran over Commercial Street, as shown in this photo by news photographer Leslie Jones.

At 12:30 p.m., take a moment to remember the 21 people killed by a gooey, bittersweet flood of more than 2 million gallons of molasses, just moments after the machine-gun-like sound of rivets giving way echoed across the North End and the tank burst on an unseasonably warm January day in 1919, thanks to shoddy construction by the tank's owner.

Tank on a map.

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, by Stephen Puleo.

Photo by Leslie Jones from the BPL's Molasses Disaster collection. Posted under this Creative Commons license.

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Comments

... is a really good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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I would add also that Mr. Puleo is also a very nice guy. I've had the opportunity to meet him on a couple of occasions with a small book club to which I belong. I would also recommend another of his books, A City So Grand. It's part of my "essential Boston History" books, up there with several of those written by my late professors, Tom O'Connor and Andrew Bunie (earlier Buni).

People often ask me how I, a person who is originally "from away", knows what I know about Boston. Mssrs. Puleo, O'Connor, Bunie and blowing off study time in favor of walking aimlessly around town, is my usual answer.

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... with an emphasis on history are a thing, I'd also recommend anything by Anthony Mitchell Sammarco. Most of them are heavy on period photography with enlightening captions. I particularly enjoy his books about public transit, but he also has one on the S. S. Pierce company that's fantastic. Coming from Lower Mills originally, I also enjoyed his books on Dorchester.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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A City So Grand is great! Such a time of transition for this town. I'd also recommend Boston Miscellany, by William Marchione. As the name suggests, it's a collection of short essays on lesser known Boston historical episodes. You can preview his style by browsing his contributions to the Brighton Allston Historical Society.

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[duplicative post deleted - sorry]

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I don't think Peter the cat survived the molasses flood.

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Not to toot my own horn or anything (ok maybe a little bit), but I created the graphics and animations for The Folklorist and NewTV. It's still one of my proudest and favorite projects. Glad to see it make it's way to UHub!

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congrats!

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IMAGE(https://i.imgflip.com/xeku3.jpg)

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However, during recent excavations, I could smell treacle when I rode along Commercial Street and see a dark line in the wall of the dug out area. I didn't smell that before they started digging - even in the summer.

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The first mention of the molasses flood was in the David Wallechinsky/Irving Wallace book The People's Almanac, originally published in 1975. Does Puleo mention them?

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I don't understand why you think this was the first mention of this event. It wasn't secret. I think the first mention was the headline of every single Boston newspaper the next morning.
IMAGE(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4117/4901511429_7b66d0f942_b.jpg)Huge molasses tank explodes in North End; 11 dead, 50 hurt [Boston Post, January 16, 1919] by Boston Public Library, on Flickr

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The Boston City Archives has posted photos that show the el near the tank before and after the flood.

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Anyone know how long it took them to get the elevated track back to working order? Be interesting to compare that to the repair/construction timeframes we have to endure with the MBTA nowadays.

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I do have a photo of the cleaned up yard and the restored EL dated 5.21.19 but, believe the
line had been back in operation sometime before. I'd post the picture but, don't know how.
LS

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