The 1920 Wall Street Bombing

The Wall Street Bombing occurred at 12:01 pm on Thursday, September 16, 1920, in the Financial District of New York City. The blast killed 30 people immediately, and another eight died later of wounds sustained in the blast. There were 143 seriously injured, and the total number of injured was in the hundreds.

The bombing was never solved, although investigators and historians believe the Wall Street bombing was carried out by Galleanists (Italian anarchists), a group responsible for a series of bombings the previous year. The attack was related to postwar social unrest, labor struggles and anti-capitalist agitation in the United States.

At noon, a horse-drawn wagon passed by lunchtime crowds on Wall Street in New York City and stopped across the street from the headquarters of the J.P. Morgan bank at 23 Wall Street, on the Financial District’s busiest corner. Inside, 100 pounds (45 kg) of dynamite with 500 pounds (230 kg) of heavy, cast-iron sash weights exploded in a timer-set detonation, sending the slugs tearing through the air. The horse and wagon were blasted into small fragments, but the driver was believed to have left the vehicle and escaped.

The 38 victims, most of whom died within moments of the blast, were mostly young people who worked as messengers, stenographers, clerks and brokers. Many of the wounded suffered severe injuries.The bomb caused more than $2 million in property damage ($23,500,000 with inflation) and destroyed most of the interior spaces of the Morgan building.

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