You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

From the Archives

From Globe archives: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919

Globe file photo

Continue reading below

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.


For more “From the Archives” photos, visit
Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of