Bedford Historical Society to Host Talk on 1919 Great Molasses Flood 

Historian Anthony Sammarco will talk about the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 on Sunday afternoon, hosted by the Bedford Historical Society. Courtesy photo

Submitted by the Bedford Historical Society

Author and historian Anthony Sammarco will talk about the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 in Boston’s North End on Sunday afternoon, April 30. The event will be hosted by the Bedford Historical Society.

The program, which is free and open to the public, will begin with refreshments at 2 p.m. in the Great Room (third floor) of Old Town Hall, 16 South Rd. Finger foods will be available in small plastic bags for safety and convenience. Coffee and water also will be served.  

After a short social period and announcements by Society President Tom Kinzer, guest speaker Sammarco will begin his talk, “Molasses: From the Slave Trade to the Great Molasses Flood.”  

He will trace the influence of molasses in the “Triangle Trade,” the 18th-century world economy involving rum, slaves, and sugar cane and its important connection to Massachusetts. New England rum was traded in Africa for slaves, which were brought to the West Indies and the Caribbean where they cultivated sugar cane. The sugar cane was later refined into molasses, which was shipped to New England and often used in the rum distillation process.  

Sammarco, who charmed Bedford attendees at a past Society program on “The Baker Chocolate Company: A Sweet History,” has written 70 books on the history and development of Boston.  Among his bestselling titles are “Lost Boston,” “Jordan Marsh: New England’s Largest Store,” and “A History of Howard Johnson’s: How a Soda Fountain Became a Roadside Icon.”  A TV interview about his talk on “Christmas Traditions in Boston” was featured at one of the Society’s Zoom Holiday parties during Covid.

Sammarco teaches at Boston University’s Metropolitan College. He was awarded the prestigious Bulfinch Award from the Massachusetts State House’s Doric Dames and the George Washington Medal from the Freedom Foundation. He also is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Save The Date:
Save May 21 for “Quirky” Characters

The Bedford Historical Society’s final program this spring will feature Bedford Town Historian Sharon McDonald on Sunday, May 21, also in the Great Room of Old Town Hall.

She will enlighten and entertain the audience with another version of “A Cast of 19th Century Historical Characters.” This time, it will be Lucinda Hosmer, Emmanuel Pfeiffer, and Benjamin Simonds that she brings to life in her storytelling.

Her talk will be the highlight of the Historical Society’s Annual Meeting. The event will begin at 2 p.m. with a 15-minute refreshment period, followed by a report about the year’s activities by retiring President Tom Kinzer. After the election of Society Directors, Sharon will begin her presentation.   

Mark your calendar for this exciting presentation about three historic Bedford residents whom Sharon describes as “quirky, inspiring, humorous, and surprising.”

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