By - 1/15/15 - 11:53 am
Firefighters knee deep in molasses in Boston

Around 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 15, 1919, a large, poorly maintained tank full of molasses on a warm day burst, sending a huge wave of gooey death rampaging down Commercial Street, drowning or crushing 21 people and several horses and cats as it battered the supports of the el that ran down the street and knocked a neighboring fire station off its foundation.

As with so many other major events in the early and mid-20th century, Leslie Jones was there to chronicle the aftermath.

By - 10/3/14 - 10:36 am

And what better place for it than the Greenway? Not because the 1919 sticky death flood happened there, but because the Greenway is where all memorials are supposed to go these days (and the state is seeking proposals for what to put atop Big Dig ramps).

By - 8/13/13 - 10:31 am

Scientific American breaks it down for us, explains why the nature of molasses made the flood far worse than if it had just been some rogue wave tearing through the inner harbor:

By - 3/19/13 - 12:01 pm

Just out: "The Great Boston Molasses Flood" by the Dead Milkmen:

Sweet holy Jesus, there's a wall of molasses coming for me and my fam-i-lee.

Listen to the lyrics at the beginning, and you'll notice that whoever wrote them obviously read their Puleo.

H/t Liam Sullivan.

By - 1/15/11 - 8:25 am

Sticky, destroyed ElDestroyed El

On this day in 1919, 21 people died when a poorly maintained molasses tank off Commercial Street exploded, sending more than 2 million gallons of the syrup roaring down the street at 35 m.p.h. The above photo is from the Boston Public Library's collection of molasses images and shows what the stuff did to the elevated that ran down the street at the time.

By - 1/15/09 - 11:28 am

Steven Puleo, who wrote the book on the Great Molasses Flood, which happened 90 years ago today, explains what it's like to write a book about something like that:

At first, the woman in front of me jumped a bit when I popped my head over the seatback and said, "Would you like me to autograph that?"

We had just taken off from Charlotte, on a connector flight from Boston to Hilton Head, and her movement had caught my eye when she pulled a copy of Dark Tide from her bag and settled in to read. When I asked the question, she glanced quickly from me to the book and back to me again, and said, "No – you're not…are you?" But there's no author's photo on the paperback, after all, so she wasn't entirely sure. ...

By - 1/14/05 - 4:32 pm

Michael reminds us that tomorrow is the 86th anniversary of the Great Molasses Flood, when 21 people drowned in molasses after a giant North End storage tank full of the stuff burst. Molasses fans will recall it happened on an unseasonably warm January day - good thing there aren't any molasses tanks left in the North End today, eh?