Around noon on January 15, 1919, a group of firefighters were playing cards in Boston's North End when they heard a tremendous crash. It was like, "a roaring surf," one of them said later. Like, "a runaway two-horse team smashing through a fence," said another. A third firefighter jumped up from his chair to look out a window - "Oh my God!" he shouted to the other men, "Run!" A 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses had just collapsed on Boston's waterfront, disgorging its contents as a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that at its outset traveled at 35 miles an hour.
"Sad Day in Boston History"
On December 26, 1941, Secret Service Agent Harry E. Neal stood on a platform at Washington's Union Station, watching a train chug off into the dark and feeling at once relieved and inexorably anxious. These were dire times: As Hitler's armies plowed across Europe, seizing or destroying the continent's historic artifacts at will, Japan bristled to the East. The Axis was rapidly closing in. So FDR set about hiding the country's valuables.