It’s a strange, strange story. In January 1919, a 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses collapsed on Boston’s waterfront, disgorging its contents in a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that, at its outset, traveled at 35 miles an hour.
So much for all the molasses-being-slow cliches.
The wave demolished wooden homes, even the brick fire station. The number of dead wasn’t known for days. It would be years before a landmark court battle determined who was responsible for the disaster.
Oddly, this bizarre and tragic event has been nearly forgotten. I mean, Wikipedia has an article on it, but they have an article on everything. And that makes it perfect for a program like this–a communal learning experience, something of local interest, and generally just a strange, eye-opening true-story. Boston voters clearly know what they’re doing when it comes to picking books.
For more regional picks, check out the last page of our newly updated One Book, One Community catalog.