In mid-January 1919, the cobblestone streets of Boston’s North End were flooded with molasses – to the whopping tune of 2.3 million gallons of the sweet, sticky stuff.
The Great Molasses Flood unleashed a wave of dark brown syrup, inundating the old Italian neighborhood at a quick clip. The viscous mass (spilled from a burst storage tank) weighed 12,000 tons and moved at a speed of 35 mph – an event ultimately dubbed the Boston Molasses Disaster after the swell killed 21 people and injured 150 more.
For decades following, denizens swore the Boston air smelled especially sweet on hot summer days.
– Hannah Van Sickle, The Boston 100