Great Molasses Flood
This is my contribution to the Week 9 challenge. Thank you! As a history nerd, I love writing ballads. The biggest challenge is figuring out what parts of the story to not put in the song!!!
Have you ever heard someone say, "You're slower than molasses in January!" to someone dragging their feet? This is a good, true story to share with them.
On January 15, 1919, around 12:30 p.m.:
***Crash, thunderous bang, like the sound you'd hear from an elevated train rolling by
Machine gun sounds as rivets shoot out from a giant molasses tank (50 ft. tall and 90 ft. in diameter)***
The tank collapses, bursting open, creating a deadly 25 foot wave of molasses that fills several nearby streets with 2-3 feet of sticky, gooey molasses. Several horses, pulling wagons in the street, were buried and killed along with six drivers and one messenger working near the facility. Six workers at the neighboring paving yard are buried and suffocating, unable to move out of the way. Two children coming home from school were killed. In the initial blast, the high wave hits the girders of the nearby train. The train foreman is killed and one of the railroad cars is tipped off the tracks momentarily, injuring passengers. Neighboring buildings are swept from their foundations and crushed. A homemaker and her adult son die, as well as a firefighter rushing to the scene. 150 men, women and children are injured with burns, bumps and bruises.
As one witness described it, "Horses died like so many flies on sticky fly-paper." Dogs and cats were also swept up and smothered.
The Purity Distilling Company was found guilty of not repairing faulty equipment and sued for damages. It was one of the first food industry accidents that pushed for reforms in engineering and equipment inspections.
1. On a hot summer's day in the North End of Boston
You can smell the molasses seeping through the streets.
Ninety-nine years ago, about two million gallons
of hot, sticky, sugar caused a tragedy.
Out of the way! Out of the way! A twenty-five foot wave
Poured down on workers at the North End Paving Yard
Out of the way! Out of the way! Thirty-five miles per hour!
Suffocating drivers, horses and dogs.
2. Anthony and Maria were walking home from school
When they were trapped and choked by the dark brown, sticky goo.
Anthony passed out, and when he was awakened
He learned one of his four sisters was taken!
3. There was lots of blame to go around for the explosion:
A leaky tank, warmer weather, the start of Prohibition.
Twenty-one lives were lost; 150 injured.
It took four days to search the flood for survivors.
4. Today, the site is a baseball park where local children play
And part of it's the subway called the MBTA.
The Purity Distilling Company went defunct
For faulty engineering that they flunked!!!
Now today, yes, today, a century later
You'll still hear the story of the Great Molasses Flood.
And on a hot, summer's day, as you walk the streets of Boston,
You may still smell the sweetness that's soaked in the mud.
Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.