Marcia Miller's Reflections & Resources

One Thing Leads to Another

Yesterday, while Ben was reading a book called Born to Run, he read something about molasses, about a runner who liked using molasses instead of other sweeteners. We talked about it briefly, about various sweeteners, how people’s tastes have changed over time, and that was about all.

Then this morning, Ben said he had looked up “molasses” to read more about it, and at the same time, he found an article about the Boston Molasses Disaster, also known as The Great Molasses Flood of 1919. I had never heard of it before. He showed me the article, and we laughed at the absurdity of how it sounded, but then also took note of the tragedy involved since 21 people had died and 150 were injured. A fifty foot molasses storage tank had ruptured and collapsed, flooding a couple million gallons of crude molasses into the streets of Boston’s industrial North End at an estimated 35 mph. Amazing!

We talked about it a bit more, still amazed at such an odd disaster, and amused that he ran across this story just because he wanted to know more about molasses. I think Ben summed it up well: “That’s the funny stuff you find out when you look up something ordinary.”

So true. One thing leads to another, and you learn something new every day.

The Great Molasses Flood: Aftermath of the disaster; photo by Globe Newspaper Co. (Boston Public Library)

A few more details, if you’re curious:

The Great Boston Molasses Flood

Molasses Clocked at 35 MPH…in January!

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

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One Comment for “One Thing Leads to Another”

  • Sandra Dodd says:

    I had read about this a few times, usually coming to it from stories of disasters. I agree about the fascinating/funny/tragic/not funny aspect of the story. And I DO love those connections. This won’t be the last time he connects that story to something else! Learning is learning is learning.


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