The Boston Herald, September 17, 1920

As I remember 9/11 (not that I could ever forget), I also recall 9/16, an earlier day of violence and tragedy in the financial district of New York.

Just after noon on September 16, 1920, a huge explosion created bloody chaos on Wall Street, burning passers-by, blowing office windows into dagger-sharp smithereens, toppling cars. Thirty-three people were killed that day. More died of their injuries later.

The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 1920

The source of the carnage? A horse-drawn wagon laden with dynamite, the progenitor of all truck bombs.

A massive and top-priority investigation by the federal Bureau of Investigation failed. No one was ever charged with the crime.

According to hearsay, the man behind the deadly blast was a lone wolf named Mario Buda. His best friends were his imprisoned fellow anarchists, Nick Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, and the bombing was said to have been Buda’s retaliation for his friends’ indictment, five days earlier, for robbery and murder.

Learn more about the 1920 attack on Wall Street in In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti: Double Lives, Troubled Times, and the Massachusetts Murder Case That Shook the World.
For still more  details, I recommend The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in Its First Age of Terror, by Beverly Gage.

The New York Times, September 17, 1920

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2 Responses to

  1. Meagan Healy says:

    I read many pieces on this topic that day. This one stood out because it gave historical perspective, reminding me that Wall Street has a longer (and different) history than I realized. Very intriguing.

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