25-Foot Tidal Wave Leveled Boston Back In 1919 - But It Wasn't Made Of Water

Natural disaster stories about floods can be found throughout records and history books, but there was one very unnatural flood that's hard to believe. Shockingly enough, it's a true story.

In 1919, Boston suffered what is now known as the Great Molasses Flood. A giant factory tanker that had been filled for a transfer to another plant exploded, and more than 2 million gallons of the sweet, sticky stuff flooded the streets.

You may have heard the phrase 'slow as molasses,' and you might wonder what the big deal is. After all, how bad could a molasses spill be?

Apparently, very bad. It was not slow, actually; the heated molasses was much thinner than room temperature stuff, and waves of it went crashing through the streets at 35 mph. Reports say the force was so great that the streets were rumbling before the flood even washed over them.

Some molasses waves measured up to 25 feet high. Imagine being on the city streets, only to look up and find you're about to be engulfed by a tsunami of syrup. The waves crushed structures, washed away vehicles and the force of it nearly tipped a railroad car off elevated tracks.

Many humans and animals were crushed by the debris or smothered with dripping with heavy syrup. Trying to emerge from the waist-deep molasses was not easy. The sticky, cooling liquid quickly became like quicksand. One person claimed he couldn't even cry out, his throat was so clogged from the gooey liquid.

Tragically, 21 people died. Nearly 150 were injured, and a number of animals were drowned in the molasses. The search for bodies in the remaining mess was almost as traumatizing as the event itself. The flood nearly destroyed the beautiful historic city.

There are parts of Boston where residents say they can still smell the faint odor of molasses rising up from the cobblestone streets on a hot summer day.

Source: Little Things
Photo: Flickr/Boston Public Library/Leslie Jones


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