The Great Boston Molasses Flood, 100 Years Later

Reflecting on the North End disaster that changed history.

boston molasses disaster

Photo via Wikimedia/Creative Commons, graphic by Kristen Goodfriend

This week marks 100 years since an unimaginable disaster struck in Boston, when millions of gallons of molasses burst out of a giant, rickety tank by the harbor and gushed into the North End. Nearly two dozen were killed and scores more suffered gruesome injuries as the neighborhood was quickly overcome with sticky, destructive, suffocating ooze. On its big anniversary, we’re looking back at the Great Boston Molasses Flood, a catastrophe that changed history, and that, even after all this time, is as frightening (and infuriating) as ever.

Timeline: The Great Boston Molasses Flood

How it all went down.

Boston Herald news clip via Boston Public Library on Flickr

Nine Photos That Show the Destruction of the Great Boston Molasses Flood

See the aftermath through the eyes of photographer Leslie Jones.

Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

The Great Boston Molasses Flood, By the Numbers

A closer look at the tragedy.

Headshot and book cover courtesy of Beacon Press

Anarchists, Horses, Heroes: 12 Things You Didn’t Know about the Great Boston Molasses Flood

The weirder and more notable aspects of the disaster, via Dark Tide author Stephen Puleo.

Photo by Madeline Bilis

Why Doesn’t Boston Do a Better Job of Commemorating the Great Molasses Flood?

All we have is a puny green plaque—for now.

The Blob still courtesy of Criterion Collection, which re-released the 1958 cult classic in 2013.

The Boston Molasses Flood in Pop Culture

The disaster lives on in film, books, and Drunk History.