From the Archives

From Globe archives: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919

Globe file photo


The infamous molasses flood in Boston was a tragedy like no other. At approximately 12:40 p.m on Jan. 15, 1919, a giant tank at the Purity Distilling Co. on Commercial Street in the North End collapsed, sending a wave of an estimated 2.3 million gallons of molasses through the streets of the city. The devastation caused by the sticky liquid was shocking. Twenty-one people perished, including two 10-year-olds, Pasquale Iantosca and Maria Distasio, who were collecting firewood near the molasses tank while home from school for lunch.

The photo above, from the next day, shows the aftermath looking north across North End Park. The molasses tank was located in the center of the picture. Sections of the metal may be seen at the extreme left and right.


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