The Wall Street Explosion


The Wall Street Explosion occurred in New York City at one minute before noon on 16 September 1920, across from the headquarters of the J. P. Morgan Company on Wall Street, near the corner of Broad Street. The junction was the financial epicenter of the United States–the J. P. Morgan Company, the N.Y. Stock Exchange, the U.S. Assay Office, the Sub-Treasury Building all surrounded the site. It was a system bitterly hated by the radicals and the anarchists.

Forty persons in the street were killed, and 400 hundred people were injured although no one inside the buildings was harmed. Ironically, the bomb that rocked the entire lower end of Manhattan claimed not the reviled financial giants but rather the ‘little people’: the clerk, the stenographer, delivery boys. Wall Street was a shambles. A huge hole was made in the street. Authorities believed the bombing to have been caused by a bomb carried in the back of a red  ramshackle, one-horse wagon, which witnesses later remembered having seen near the spot. Both the horse and wagon were entirely destroyed in the blast, however, and the perpetrator was never discovered.

Thousands of people lined up the streets to see the blood-soaked street. The N.Y Daily News photographer George Schmidt was among the first to arrive and he took the above photo.

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