Community Transportation

Great Molasses Flood Memorial Could Cover Parcel 6 Ramps on Greenway

As State (MassDOT) and City (BRA) officials consider design solutions to cover the ramp parcels on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, North Ender and civil engineer, Bryan Webb, has put forth a conceptual plan for a Great Molasses Flood Memorial. The idea is geared to cover Parcel 6 where the tunnel ramps are located north of the Greenway’s North End Parks between Haymarket and Endicott Street.

The memorial “is a potential solution creating both open park space, and a community space that naturally ties into the existing Rose Kennedy Greenway,” according to Webb who continues to describe the concept as follows:

The centerpiece of the space will be an open arch memorial to commemorate the Great Molasses Flood. By turning the historic molasses tank on its side, we have opened up the space creating a natural center for recreation, music, and community interaction. Dimensions of arch will be congruent to the actual molasses tank from 1919, 90’ long 50’ wide. Two small pools with fountains will lead up to the entrance of the arch, split by a center walkway. From an aerial view, these pools seem to spill from south side of the tank. The north side of the arch will house a stone wall with the historical accounts, images, and names of those who lost their lives in the Great Molasses flood.

Webb says the pools shown could be drained similar to Boston Common’s frog pond, allowing for winter skating, summer concerts or year-round community space.

In some ways, the concept aligns with the requirements presented at a September 30, 2014 public meeting where engineers and consultants presented their own concepts including one that was also an elevated viewing platform. Webb’s memorial park would similarly rise to allow for panoramic views up and down the Greenway to surrounding neighborhoods as well as providing clearance for the entering and exiting vehicles of the Big Dig tunnel. Walkways would also allow pedestrian flow to connect adjoining Greenway parcels.

When Webb brought up his idea at the public meeting, officials said they had reviewed his report and found it “interesting,” but were otherwise non-committal.

The 100th year anniversary of the Great Molasses Flood that killed 21 people and left 100 injured is coming up in five years on January 19, 2019. The disaster brought nationwide attention to the lack of industrial safety standards. Other than a simple sign on Commercial Street, there is no other memorial acknowledging the tragedy. (See video and photos about the Great Molasses Flood.)

Bryan Webb offers his contact email at for anyone that would like to get in touch to help further the design concept. He also says that if others in the community have ideas, he would be willing to lend his drafting skills.

A copy of the 7-page design concept proposal is shown below and can be downloaded here as a pdf file, courtesy of author Bryan Webb.

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