Tag Archives: Pinkerton

Anger and Anarchy on Wall Street: The 1920 bombing

The aftermath of the September 16, 1920 Wall Street bombing. Photo: Library of Congress, New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph

By Gilbert King
Smithsonian Magazine

Descriptions of the event on Wall Street might seem eerily familiar. “It was a crush out of a blue sky—an unexpected, death-dealing bolt,” one witness observed, “which in a twinkling turned into a shambles the busiest corner of America’s financial center and sent scurrying to places of shelter hundreds of wounded, dumb-stricken, white-faced men and women—fleeing from an unknown danger.… Looking down Wall Street later I could see arising from the vicinity of the subtreasury building and the J.P. Morgan and Co. bank, a mushroom-shaped cloud of yellowish, green smoke which mounted to a height of more than 100 feet, the smoke being licked by darting tongues of flame.”

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