The Great 1919 Molasses Disaster

The Great 1919 Molasses Disaster

On this day in 1919, one of the world’s sweetest disasters took place.

Lest you think that molasses leaking into Honolulu harbour in Hawaii is a new environmental disaster, take note: on January 15, the city of Boston was flooded with molasses when a 50-ft. high holding tank at the Purity Distilling Company burst, spewing two million gallons of the sugar cane by-product through the streets killing 21 people, injuring 150 and crushing buildings and destroying parts of the city’s elevated railway system.

The molasses tsunami was as high as five metres and moved at nearly 60 km/h. Pretty fast for molasses in January. It took six months for the area to be cleaned up; however, they say that you can still smell molasses in that area of Beantown in the hot, humid summer months.

Indeed, in more ways than one our food can put us at risk, today or a hundred years ago.
[Image: Wikimedia Commons]

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