100 years later, remembering the attack that shut down Wall Street

Northeast

NEW YORK CITY (NewsNation Now) — It’s been 100 years since a dark day in United States history. The attack is barely remembered now, but some of the damage from that tragic day in 1920 is still visible to this day.

It’s an empty building in the heart of Wall Street. Every year thousands walk past these deeply pitted walls, unaware of what left the marks. It’s even been immortalized on film.

At 12:01 p.m. on Sept. 16, 1920, a small horse-drawn wagon was slowly making its way past lunchtime crowds. The wagon paused in front of one of the most famous financial addresses in America — the headquarters of J.P. Morgan and Company — and it blew up.

“It knocks out the windows up and down Wall Street,” said Beverly Gage, author of The Day Wall Street Exploded. “It could be felt as far north as City Hall.”

Set on a timer, the 100 lbs. of dynamite and 500 lbs. of cast-iron weights, created an enormous blast, then a wave of shrapnel that knocked trolley cars off their tracks two blocks away.

“And by the time the flames and the blast clear, almost forty people are lying dead in the street, hundreds of people are injured and the stock market is in the process of shutting down,” said Gage.

It was a scene of absolute carnage that left New Yorkers in shock, filled newspapers for months and yet is barely remembered now at all. Even though there are many parallels to the present day.

“I think most people today haven’t heard of it at all even though we can see lots of resonance with what’s going on now,” said Gage. “Questions of Wall Street and its role in American life, questions of how you treat protesters and radicals, of immigration. All of these were really hot issues in 1920, both before and after this major bombing.”

A bombing that to this day has not been solved; although investigators believe it was the work of a group of “Italian anarchists.” The suspected bomb-maker set off to Italy shortly after, never to return to the United States.

The damage on the building was left never repaired, a choice Wall Street made, to remember history.

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