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Molasses Disaster

Abby Sale 30 May 02 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Bill Kennedy 30 May 02 - 01:29 PM
Sorcha 30 May 02 - 02:09 PM
Abby Sale 30 May 02 - 03:29 PM
bill kennedy 30 May 02 - 03:55 PM
Burke 30 May 02 - 04:54 PM
Burke 30 May 02 - 06:18 PM
michaelr 30 May 02 - 08:42 PM
Malcolm Douglas 30 May 02 - 09:54 PM
Amos 30 May 02 - 10:59 PM
Amos 30 May 02 - 11:03 PM
Jim Dixon 30 May 02 - 11:21 PM
Amos 30 May 02 - 11:43 PM
JohnInKansas 31 May 02 - 01:58 AM
GUEST,Bill Kennedy 31 May 02 - 10:09 AM
catspaw49 31 May 02 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Phillip 31 May 02 - 10:29 AM
Amos 31 May 02 - 10:39 AM
Abby Sale 31 May 02 - 04:43 PM
Don Firth 31 May 02 - 05:11 PM
GUEST 31 May 02 - 06:22 PM
GUEST 31 May 02 - 06:56 PM
GUEST 31 May 02 - 07:02 PM
GUEST 31 May 02 - 07:31 PM
Art Thieme 31 May 02 - 07:38 PM
GUEST 31 May 02 - 07:41 PM
Don Firth 31 May 02 - 09:55 PM
John MacKenzie 01 Jun 02 - 08:53 AM
Stefan Wirz 01 Jun 02 - 10:59 AM
Abby Sale 01 Jun 02 - 12:11 PM
Suffet 19 Aug 08 - 04:33 PM
Joe_F 19 Aug 08 - 09:51 PM
Rowan 19 Aug 08 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,rochie97 18 Sep 08 - 05:37 PM
SINSULL 18 Sep 08 - 08:14 PM
open mike 19 Sep 08 - 01:58 AM
Suffet 19 Sep 08 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,MeadowMuskrat 19 Sep 08 - 02:05 PM
Suffet 20 Sep 08 - 04:53 PM
Desert Dancer 13 Sep 13 - 11:17 AM
gnu 13 Sep 13 - 11:27 AM
Jack Campin 13 Sep 13 - 11:27 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Sep 13 - 12:44 PM
Jack Campin 13 Sep 13 - 01:40 PM
JohnInKansas 13 Sep 13 - 03:27 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Sep 13 - 04:36 PM
JohnInKansas 13 Sep 13 - 05:23 PM
Mike in Brunswick 14 Sep 13 - 01:24 AM
JohnInKansas 14 Sep 13 - 02:21 AM
keberoxu 26 Jun 17 - 03:09 PM
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Subject: Molasses Disaster
From: Abby Sale
Date: 30 May 02 - 12:33 PM

A certain Stan at OMRTINY@cs.com has put around the following querry:

>> I am trying to find a song that I once heard about the >>1919 Boston Molasses Disaster

I am aware of the Molasses Disaster of Jan 15th, 1919 - 21 souls perished in the tidal wave. For 10 years the "Happy!" file has been holding open a slot open for a song relating to this tragedy.

Please advise Stan and me if you know of one.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MOLASSES (Tom Rowe)
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 30 May 02 - 01:29 PM

Schooner Fare recorded a song called Molasses on its We the People release, 1985, rereleased as a cd in 1988 it goes like this

MOLASSES
Words and Music by Tom Rowe

African Man cuts the sugar cane,
Oh Molasses
He works in the sun, he works in the rain.
Oh molasses rhum
Then he loads it up on a wooden ship,
Sends it off on a northern trip.
Oh molasses, oh molasses rhum.

Oh molasses, Ole New England tea.
You killed my Grampa, killed my Pa. Oh molasses, oh molasses rhum.

When they fought the war for the Colonies;
They fought it over New England tea.
Old King George put a tax on it,
The Colonies nearly took a fit.

In the time of the nineteen-seventeen war;
Molasses sitting on the Boston shore.
When they pumped it in it was twelve degrees,
A long cold night in a Boston freeze.

In the morning it was forty-two
Molasses vat split clean in two.
Two million gallons covered the bay
Twenty-six people drowned in the flood that day.

Grampa, he died cuttin' cane.
Pa went down in the great brown rain.
But I won't go in a pool of blood,
I won't drown in a blackstrap flood;
But still I'll go down to molasses, Oh molasses rhum.


a google search also found this - http://www.drizzle.com/~dyslexia/darcy-bkup/music.html

Dame Darcy with The Coctails (In Her Own Words: ) "A single that comes with a book. The single features me singing, playing banjo, and toy harmonica I won playing Skee-Ball in New Hampshire. Look at the pictures. They include: a waltz about the Great Boston Molasses Flood circa 1800's, a lullbye about a Band-Aid box, Alphabetical list of prepositions sea shanty, and many more. The Coctails back it up with cartoon music, stand up bass, vibes, etc."


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 May 02 - 02:09 PM

Just doing an Add for Bill Kennedy's post 1:29 this thread.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Abby Sale
Date: 30 May 02 - 03:29 PM

Thank you bill. That's a good song.

But my error, I should have included Stan's comment: 'but it is not Schooner Fare's "Molasses"' And definately 1919.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: bill kennedy
Date: 30 May 02 - 03:55 PM

definitely 1919 meaning? there was only one Molasses disaster that I am aware of , do you/Stan mean the song he's looking for was written in 1919? certainly not recorded then? (yes I know there were recordings long before then, but it seems implausible, still the age of sheet music, to me)


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Burke
Date: 30 May 02 - 04:54 PM

"In the time of the nineteen-seventeen war;"

This just means it was during WWI, not a particular year, doesn't it? I think it was referred to that way in Great Britain for quite some time.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Burke
Date: 30 May 02 - 06:18 PM

Never mind. I've looked up some of the disaster sites. It looks like the song writer might have been confused by the molasses being descibed as a tidal wave & put it in the bay instead of on the street.

That other quote is just a line about a tune on a 7" LP. Read the review at the bottom of the page.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: michaelr
Date: 30 May 02 - 08:42 PM

Well Abby, you should know better than to ask a bunch of duffers without any real knowledge...


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 May 02 - 09:54 PM

I don't think that WW1 was ever referred to as "the nineteen-seventeen war" in Britain, as it started in 1914. America, where the term is used, got involved some years later. We called it The Great War, until a bigger one came along in 1939.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Amos
Date: 30 May 02 - 10:59 PM

"On the 15th of January 1919 a tank containing over two million gallons of molasses burst over the streets of Boston. The sticky mess covered the roads and managed to drown 21 people and injure hundreds more."

"Weird Deaths" website. Not authoritative.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Amos
Date: 30 May 02 - 11:03 PM

Here's the probable source of the tsunami analogy -- bit o' hyperbole.

A


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 May 02 - 11:21 PM

I recall reading the story in Smithsonian Magazine, and, if I'm not mistaken, the very same article is reproduced here. Here is one of the bizarre details:

"The trouble was that all the rescue workers, clean-up crews and sightseers, squelching through the molasses, managed to distribute it all over Greater Boston. Boots and clothing carried it into the suburbs. Molasses coated streetcar seats and public telephones. Everything a Bostonian touched was sticky. There is a report that molasses even got as far as Worcester. Certainly the inner harbor turned brown as the hoses washed the goo into the bay."

Better read the story before you call anything hyperbole.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Amos
Date: 30 May 02 - 11:43 PM

Well, by one report the first large wall was 35 feet tall -- so maybe you're right, Jim. Hard to imagine that much molasses, innit? :>)

It was only a short while later, in 1920, the U.S. Post Office Department ruled that children may not be sent by parcel post.

A


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 May 02 - 01:58 AM

The great explosion was, indeed, quite an event. I can't attest to how high the first wave was, but among the dead were a number of postal workers - trapped in a basement, and virtually all of the police precinct's horses - trapped in the barn.

About the only thing "greater" than the flood of molasses was the flood of lawsuits that took a very long time to settle - and caused some "professional feuds" among those who testified about the cause that lasted for several decades. (One of my professors was still mad in 1961.)

John


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 31 May 02 - 10:09 AM

still don't know what the confusion is about, there was indeed a great flood of molasses in 1919 in Boston, 2.5 million gallons, destined for rum distillery, when the tank burst, it was a tidal wave. The song lyric refers to the First World War in a folksy way, but just for a rhyme, not for history, it is definiteyl about the same event. Don't know if Stan/Abby want a song supposedly written closer to the event, around 1919? Haven't heard of one.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: catspaw49
Date: 31 May 02 - 10:24 AM

Can you imagine trying to wade/swim/whatever or to simply extricate yourself from molasses? Reminds me of the old Smothers Brothers song:
"I fell into a vat of chocolate."
"What did you do when you fell into the vat of chocolate?"
"I yelled 'FIRE!' when I fell into the vat of chocolate."
"Why did you yell fire when you fell into the vat of chocolate?"
"Because no one would have come if I yelled 'Chocolate!'"


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: GUEST,Phillip
Date: 31 May 02 - 10:29 AM

There was another marine disaster in Boston harbour at about that same period of time. A schooner loaded with red paint collided with a coastal ketch that was carrying brown paint. Both captains were... "maroon"ed.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Amos
Date: 31 May 02 - 10:39 AM

Wodda maroon!! LOL!!

A


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Abby Sale
Date: 31 May 02 - 04:43 PM

OK. Getting interesting. Youse guys have found a bunch of verifyers so far. The historiosity is well-established and the 1919 date as well. (Whether there was an earlier ship-load leaking in the harbor remains to be seen but I agree it's less likely.) I had my first info on this years back from the good Grim Reaper's Book of Days but likely the easiest & cleanest online reference is (no surprise) at "Urban Legends" Clicky

The folklore part, he cites, is: there is a longstanding legend associated with it: On hot, summer days in a certain neighborhood in Boston, a faint, sickeningly-sweet odor can be detected wafting up from cracks in the pavement

I have no prior knowledge of the song, though. Stan claims it is not the Schooner Fare song he seeks. He says he does know that one and seeks another. Of course, he could be lying.

Now, one of the non-duffers (Harold Groot) at r.m.f came up with a partial memory:

I do not recall right now who wrote it, but I have heard Barry Gold sing a song about "The Great Molasses Flood", which deals with this incident. So certainly there is at least one song that fits and could go into the "Happy!" file. [That's the important part, of course - AS] I do not know, however, if this is the SAME song that Stan was seeking. The song Barry was singing had a chorus that ended ...find high ground, find high ground,
find high ground, find high ground,
or you'll drown in the great molasses flood.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 May 02 - 05:11 PM

Possible thread creep, but it's roughly on the subject:—

It comes nowhere near the Great Boston Molasses Flood, but I couldn't help but be reminded of an incident that happened in Seattle in 1947. It would have been little more than a minor news item had it not been for Ivar Haglund, a local character with a real flair for cornball promotion. "The Great Syrup Spill of 1947."

I first heard Ivar on his radio show in the early Forties (I was in my very early teens) telling stories and singing folk songs of the Pacific Northwest. He sounded like Burl Ives on a bad day and he knew about two and a half chords on the guitar, but he wasn't too bad and he knew a lot of songs. He went on to found a bunch of seafood restaurants in this area, starting with the "Acres of Clams," the name, of course, taken form the last verse of The Old Settler's Song, which was the theme song of his program. Pete Seeger once commented to me, "I taught him the song, but of course he wouldn't admit it now!" After he stopped doing his radio program, the only times he sang anywhere that anybody knew about was on singing commercials for his own restaurants. During the late Fifties and early Sixties, singers such as Bob Nelson and I were singing all over the area, but Ivar studiously distanced himself from the whole folk scene. Nevertheless, Ivar still wanted to be considered "Seattle's resident folk singer." (Sorry, Ivar). Although he was purported to be "Puget Sound's principal champion of regional folk music," he died with a head full of songs that he wouldn't share. But he had a zany sense of humor, a real taste for bad puns, and an incredible knack for getting his mug in the paper!

If so inclined, check him out. For the photo of how Ivar armed himself appropriately and confronted the "Great Syrup Spill," you'll have to scroll ten photos down. The story of the "The Great Syrup Spill" is still further down.

"How sweet it is!" —Jackie Gleason

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: GUEST
Date: 31 May 02 - 06:22 PM

Looking up information on the internet is a bit like playing the children's game Telephone, where one person whispers something in the ear of the next, and on down the line, until finally the last person blurts out something totally different than the original lines.

This site says a "holding tank" owned by United States Alcohol Company exploded:

http://www.3ammagazine.com/short_stories/non-fict/truetales/molasses.html

This site says the explosion occurred at the Purity Distilling Company facility:

http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/The+Boston+Molasses+Disaster

This site has a nice picture of a train with a "Molasses Tank Car from the Purity Distilling Company" that says is similar to the one that exploded on the day:

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~sjheeta/disaster/main.html

This page seems to blame the accident on recklessness on the part of the company, who was apparently anxious to make all the rum it could before Prohibition was declared:

http://cems.alfred.edu/students99/DICKMADS/background.htm

So what exploded, a storage tank, or a railroad car?

Who owned and was responsible for whatever it was that exploded, United States Alcohol Company, or Purity Distilling Company?

What the hell did Prohibition have to do with any of it?

And did Tom of Schooner Fare read the article in the 1983 issue of Smithsonian magazine, and then write the song, which debuts on the band's 1985 album "We the People"?

Some sites claim the "storage tank" was as high as 58 ft. tall, and 90 ft. diameter. Others show a train, which is most definitely NOT 58 ft tall.

No good researcher should rely solely on the Internet for factual information on a subject like this. If your sources are coming mainly from USA Today, Paul Harvey and the Wierd Deaths website, you might want to seek out primary sources.

I went to the NYT "On this Day" website, and it isn't even mentioned. I was guessing this is just the sort of thing they'd put on the website (it is an educational website for use in the schools), but I was wrong.

The Smithsonian article, which shows up in their archive as being in the November 1983 issue, seems to be one of the secondary sources later writers were using. The article was written in a folksy sort of style by a Boston native, who apparently worked for a local paper and grew up hearing stories about the disaster. He finally researched it in the Boston Globe archive, and then tells his folksy tale about it.

The Great War had just ended (two months previous).

The accident occurred the day before a vote for ratification of the 18th amendment for the next day in Nebraska, and only one more state was needed to win it, hence the idea that the company was greedily stockpiling molasses for it's rum operations. The Smithsonian story does say that rescue workers "...paused in puzzlement at the sudden ringing of church bells all over downtown Boston. Nebraska had voted on the 18th Amendment and ratified it. Prohibition was law, and churches which had campaigned for it in their pulpits now celebrated. Men up to their ankles in the makings of rum listened for a moment and went back to work."

The story says that Purity Distilling Company had sold out in 1917 to United States Industrial Alcohol, which sheds some light on the conflicting story of ownership of whatever it is that exploded. This story says it was a huge storage tank, not a railroad car, that exploded. [my edit note: I find it hard to believe that 2.5 million gallons of molasses would fit in any railroad car]. And this story says that a ship from Puerto Rico had unloaded it's molasses cargo (2.3 million gallons) "a few days before." However, I don't know if the "African Man" reference which opens the song is a bit dodgy. I'm guessing it suggests African slaves/former slaves cut the sugar cane in Puerto Rico, but there seems to be a bit of the process cut out of the story, shall we say? But hey--makes for a real folksie beginning, whether it is true or not.

The Yankee Magazine article seems to be the oldest source for the story online, and the most journalistic "just the facts ma'am" style. That article sheds some light on how the railroad cars might have gotten into the story. There were apparently cars being loaded which were in front of the tank at the time, which were swept away on the wave. Also, the L tracks collapsed, though no train was on it at the time. The name of the company given in this article is a bit different too: United States Industrial Alcohol Company.

Oddly, not much mention is given in the other stories about the company's defense strategy, which was that a bomb (Bolsheviks?) destroyed the tank. Yankee mag says of the subsequent hearings:

"Altogether, more than 3,000 witnesses were examined and nearly 45,000 pages of testimony and arguments were recorded. The defendants spent over $50,000 on expert witness fees, claiming the collapse was not due to a structural weakness but rather to a dynamite bomb.

When Auditor Ogden made his report, he found the defendants responsible for the disaster because the molasses tank, which was fifty-eight feet high and ninety feet across, was not strong enough to withstand the pressure of the 2,500,000 gallons it was designed to hold. In other words, the "factor of safety" was not high enough."

So really, the Schooner Fare song has a whole lot of mixed up history, which I don't get the point of. They talk a lot about rum, but why? Because it was an ingredient in rum, and the disaster occurred on the eve of the last state voting to approve the 18th amendment? OK, but its a bit of storytelling stretch, isn't it? Along with the Boston Tea Party analogy--what's up with that? I don't know for sure, but I'm going to guess that "New England tea" was a euphemism for Boston made rum, but still..."The Colonies nearly took a fit."???

And Abby, I think the "you could smell the molasses for decades" story likely has it's origins in the Smithsonian article--it is the "I remember when..." device in the article. The author talks about remembering smelling the combination of coffee and molasses as a wee boy...which of course gets you no closer to the song you are looking for. It seems to me the chorus of "find high ground, find high ground" makes more sense in context than "Old King George put a tax on it"!

Good luck with your ballad hunt.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: GUEST
Date: 31 May 02 - 06:56 PM

Info on LA filker Barry Gold here:

http://www.bserv.com/community/fko5.htm#gold

Is he the same Barry Gold as the LA Jewish Symphony & LA Philharmonic cellist Barry Gold found here?:

http://lajs.home.att.net/bios/BarryGold.htm

And could Barry Gold be the mysterious missing link to the Boston Tea Party reference in the Schooner Fare song?:

http://design-emporium.com/storefront/products/taylors/Barry'sGold80.htm

Cuppa anyone?


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: GUEST
Date: 31 May 02 - 07:02 PM

And here is the Xenofilkia page with their song list, but I didn't find anything yet...

http://thestarport.org/xeno/ix.name.html


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: GUEST
Date: 31 May 02 - 07:31 PM

Well, I found a source for your song "The Great Molasses Flood". Found in "Primary Beams" filkers song book published by MASSFILC, Inc. (filkers from MA--duh!) and advertised here:

http://www.noreascon.org/b2004/files/newsl4.pdf

Happy?


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 May 02 - 07:38 PM

A real sad aspect of this thread is that nobody (so far) has come to any conclusion anywhere close to the really negative realization that in order to get even close to this much molasses in one place at any one time probably a million moles had to be slaughtered. And what then, in the name of God, did they do with the rest of the animals????? There are more questions than answers in the many posts to this thread so far. Animal Rights Galore, a wonderful group working hard for politically correct aspects of travesties like this all over the world would most certainly, I know, want to know about this. And then we can all sit back and watch the fur fly.

Oh, the hunanity---and whatever.

Art Thieme (indignant as hell)


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: GUEST
Date: 31 May 02 - 07:41 PM

And not going to drink margueritas anymore?


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 May 02 - 09:55 PM

Gee, Art, that works out to 2.5 gallons per. I'm trying to visualize this and it ain't a pretty sight!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 08:53 AM

Charles River came to a sticky end. R I P


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Stefan Wirz
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 10:59 AM

didn't Harold Bissonette in 1934 close his store 'on account of molasses' ?


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Abby Sale
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 12:11 PM

Lovely, Art. I'm glad to say I wouldn't have thought of that in a million years. I've got to work that into the final "Happy!" file item though.

Guest(J): Fine work. I think the law suit reports (here and elsewhere) lock it in as a near enough valid report. Who would kid about a lawsuit?


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Suffet
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 04:33 PM

Greetings:

Ah, were you in Boston in 1919?
Were you in old Boston town?
Molasses did flood like a brown wall of mud.
Were you in old Boston town?

So begins my newly finished song about the Great Molasses Flood of January 15, 1919. If you click here for my SoundClick music page, Were You in Boston in 1919? will be the first song at the top. You are welcome to listen to it on-line or download it for free. That's me on lead vocals and guitar, Laura Munzer on back-up vocals, and Gina Tlamsa on fiddle.

By the way, I started writing the song in the summer of 2003 while attending George Ward's songwriting workshop at CDSS Pinewoods Camp near Plymouth, Massachusetts. Yes, it took me five years to complete.

Please enjoy it.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Joe_F
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 09:51 PM

I saw a documentary movie about this a couple of years ago. The Wikipedia article also has a fair amount of detail.

The company that built the tank was supposed to fill it with water to test it for leaks. The people responsible put about a foot of water in it & called it a day. When filled with molasses, it turned out to leak very badly, and people from the neighborhood routinely visited the leaks to collect free molasses. It is not known precisely what caused the final catastrophe, but with seams that bad it is no surprise.

The many people who sued the company not only won, but got their money! I suppose if such a thing happened today, a bankruptcy would have been wangled.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Rowan
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 11:29 PM

That's entirely too cynical, Joe. Wherever could you have got such an idea?

The song that Bill Kennedy posted (30 May 02) also appeared on The Roaring Forties' CD "Shore Leave".

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: GUEST,rochie97
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 05:37 PM

There was another molasses disaster in Mississippi in 1932, not sure how many died though, but it was upwards of 2,000,000 gallons as well.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: SINSULL
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 08:14 PM

I worked for the Sucrest Company which owned Boston Molasses. There is still a refinery on the spot of the flood and it reeks of molasses all the time. I never noticed the smell anywhere else.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: open mike
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 01:58 AM

is there any realation to this and the treacle mine thread?
(i thought molasses was called treacle in U.K.)

was it blackstrap?


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Suffet
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 07:01 AM

Were You in Boston in 1919?
By Stephen L. Suffet © 2008
From the CD Low Rent District
3/4 time, key of A.

A                                                
Ah, | Were you in | Bos-ton in | nine-teen nine-| teen?


                A7            E7                  
| Were you in | old Bos-ton | town?|

      A                            D               
Mo- | las-ses did | flood like a | brown wall of | mud. |


   E7                         A
| Were you in | old Bos-ton | town?    |       |


Start on chorus:
Ah, were you in Boston in 1919?
Were you in old Boston town?
Molasses did flood like a brown wall of mud.
Were you in old Boston town?

They built a big tank at the foot of Copp's Hill.
Were you in old Boston town?
And up to the top that big tank they did fill.
Were you in old Boston town?

Four years had passed since they last took a peek.
Were you in old Boston town?
To see if that tank would would dribble or leak.
Were you in old Boston town?

[Repeat chorus.]

The foreman had told them, "Just fill it half way."
Were you in old Boston town?
He said the old tank would be safer that way.
Were you in old Boston town?

The owner said, "Fill it way up to the top."
Were you in old Boston town?
So the crew didn't stop 'til the rivets went "Pop!"
Were you in old Boston town?

[Repeat chorus.]

The rivets went "Pop!" like the burp of a gun.
Were you in old Boston town?
And I thought once again I was facing the Hun.
Were you in old Boston town?

But it wasn't a German, and it wasn't a Red.
Were you in old Boston town?
And it wasn't a Russian left twenty-one dead.
Were you in old Boston town?

No, it wasn't a German, and it wasn't a Red.
Were you in old Boston town?
Just the rich owner's own greed that left twenty-one dead.
Were you in old Boston town?

[Repeat chorus twice.]


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: GUEST,MeadowMuskrat
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 02:05 PM

The book Dark Tide by Stephen Puleo published in 2003 is 250 pages of everything you would want to know about the event, including maps and photographs.2.3 million gallons of molasses traveled in 15 foot waves as fast as 35 mph. most of the molasses at that time were being distilled into industrial alcohol for use in wartime munitions for WW1.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Suffet
Date: 20 Sep 08 - 04:53 PM

Were You in Boston in 1919?
By Stephen L. Suffet © 2008
From the CD Low Rent District


Well, not quite. It was going to be on the CD, but I simply had too much material. Something had to go, and Were You in Boston in 1919? didn't make the cut. Sorry about that.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 13 Sep 13 - 11:17 AM

How about Honolulu Harbor 2013?

Massive Molasses Spill Devastates Honolulu Marine Life (NPR)

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: gnu
Date: 13 Sep 13 - 11:27 AM

Isn't that wild?


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Sep 13 - 11:27 AM

I have the book Dark Tide and it's a terrific piece of investigative work. I think if there had been a song written at the time, Suleo would have found it.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Sep 13 - 12:44 PM

Terrible, not wild. Fish devastation in Honolulu Harbor area; it will take a long time for recovery.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Sep 13 - 01:40 PM

Both disasters caused by corporations cutting corners on safety in pursuit of a fast buck.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 13 Sep 13 - 03:27 PM

The Boston Molasses "explosion" has been quite well documented in a couple of historical versions.

The "public reports" via news media present a rather messy story, but give a good idea of how the people reacted.

"Official" reports are available both in legal transcripts and in the "opinions" of techical consultants called by both sides in the resulting law suits, and in later technical studies that attempted to sort out the physical causes. The early "scientific" opinions were quite varied, and the lawsuits were settled in some haste, so in the late '50s some of the "professors" who testified, who offered their versions to classes in the universities in the area, included the opinion that the money was paid "before anyone really knew what happened."

The tank, with a capacity of about 3 million gallons, was constructed from "mild steel" typical of that used in ship construction in that time period. Plates were joined using welding methods accepted at the time. Failure of the tank has been reliably attributed, from later analyses, to a "brittle transition" in the metal, particularly in and adjacent to welds, at low ambient temperatures. The initial fracture has been identified reliably with failure of a "door frame" at a cleanout door near the bottom, and "brittle mode" crack propagation caused the immediate disintegration of the whole structure.

The same material/weld behavior was identified later in the loss of a number of "Liberty Ships" constructed hastily to transport fuel to Europe, when several of these ships "disappeared mysteriously" in the (cold) North Atlantic. Even then, the "brittle fracture" explanation was not universally accepted by all the "experts," but without the studies that were a result of the "Molasses explosion" arguments (after the lawyers went home), it is unlikely that the tanker problem would have been resolved in time to save Europe (?).

Additional advances in understanding how common metals respond to relatively mild temperatures came from a decade or two later, when a couple of arctic/antarctic expeditions saw nealy 100% failures of all their "machines." Studies continue. ...

And Accidents still happen.

John


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Sep 13 - 04:36 PM

1400 tons leaked, before loading on a Matson Navigation ship.
The molasses in Ke'ehi Lagoon and Honolulu Harbor will be left for the tides to disperse. Oxygenation techniques will be tried.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser said the pipe hadn't been used for years.

In 2003, 50,000 gallons leaked from a Matson barge in Maui.


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 13 Sep 13 - 05:23 PM

It is something of a puzzle that molasses seems to be a leak hazard.

Anyone who's tried to screw the lid off the jar, when the last user left a little sticky on the rim, should be able to attest that in general, the molasses doesn't want to get out!"

The recent Hawaiian leak doesn't suggest anything mysterious. Hundred-plus year old plumbing, unmaintained, and it didn't work when something got loose inside.

Unfortunately, the "plumbing" involved is quite representative of many municipal systems like water, storm drain, and sewage systems in the US (and probably in a lot of "elsewheres") that is long overdue for rehabilitation that those systems are unlikely to get.

Lots of our plumbing is even older (and less well maintained) than our crumbling bridges.

John


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: Mike in Brunswick
Date: 14 Sep 13 - 01:24 AM

The Boston Molasses Flood features in Dennis Lehane's 2009 novel, The Given Day.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Sep 13 - 02:21 AM

Probably not the article previously noted above, but Smithsonian has a brief note on Four Deadly Disasters Caused by Food that might be of interest.

No significant details given, but any one of these might have been remembered by a song - or needs to be.(?)

John


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Subject: RE: Molasses Disaster
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 Jun 17 - 03:09 PM

So Stephen Puleo's "Dark Tide" has been noted,
and songs written.

It occurs to me to underline one thing.

The molasses in New England was one point of that unholy triangle
from which industrial profit was sustained over centuries.
The most infamous leg, it appears to me,
of that triangle was the "Middle Passage"
in which ships went to Africa for human captives
and shipped, literally, boatloads of souls in chains
to be sold into slavery west of the Atlantic Ocean.   

Where slavery was legal, and standard practice, in the United States,
that leg of the triangle could not be denied.
The New England point of the triangle could demonstrate hypocrisy.
Where the molasses/rum process went on, in Boston,
slavery was not standard practice,
and abolitionists made their point of view heard regarding slavery.
At the same time, you had people in New England profiting nicely from an industrial/business arrangement
which, in the big triangular view,
included the slave trade described previously.

So there could exist, in the Boston area and elsewhere,
a sanctimonious hypocritical point of view:
especially once the War between the States was history.
The Northerners there could look with scorn and disdain
on the societies and regions of people
who lived with slavery before slavery was abolished.
And said Northerners could, and I submit they often did,
overlook the fact that their business culture was connected to slavery
and profited from the slave trade
even though the Northerners paid lip service to disapproval of slavery.

Amongst the worst of the sanctimonious opinions in the North
was that of judging that the South deserved
its disastrous reversals of fortune
as a punishment for permitting slavery.

As if the North in general, and Boston in particular,
could profit cheerfully from that unholy triangle
and pay no price for doing so.

Then comes an industrial disaster/accident in Boston itself
connected to one of the very industries
that formed part of that shipping triangle:
and the New England sanctimony and judgment-passing
now comes back to haunt the North.


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