At the time of its 100 year anniversary, a proposal has emerged to create a memorial to commemorate the 1919 Great Molasses Flood in Boston’s North End. Leland Mercer Alexander, a recent graduate of Wentworth Institute of Technology, presented his concept to the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) at their January 2019 meeting.
NEWRA past president, Mary McGee, introduced Alexander and referenced how tourists seek out the site at 529 Commercial Street only to find a “pathetic” plaque.
Why now? Besides the 100th anniversary, a memorial would highlight how the 1919 North End immigrant community was taken advantage of by the tank’s placement in the densely populated neighborhood along with its faulty construction and maintenance. “This is something that needs to happen,” said Alexander, “especially at a time when hate is being so frequently pushed on the agenda.”
The rough concept is to establish 21 plaques in the ground, one for each of those who died, leading along a quarter-mile on the Harborwalk from Commercial Street into Langone Park to a memorial where the victims will be standing together holdings hands. Those depicted would include the little girl, Irish construction worker, firefighters and Italian natives that all perished in the tragedy.
The memorial would be coincident with the upcoming renovation of Langone Park and Puopolo Fields. Proponents said they intend to revisit the neighborhood and city officials as the design comes together.
View the full presentation in the above video.