Molasses. Chances are it’s something you don’t have in your pantry, but 100 years ago it was a household staple. Molasses is processed from sugar cane and is used as a sweetener; it is a dark brown, barely viscous liquid. One January day, molasses also became synonymous with death. An industrial accident in Boston, known as the Great Molasses Flood of 1919, caused the sweetener to flow through city streets.
The event highlighted the need for construction regulations and inspections.
It also entered local legend. For decades, Boston residents swore than on a hot day, they could smell the molasses.