Saturday Talk – “Molasses: From the Slave Trade to Boston’s Great Molasses Flood”

October 10, 2020 @ 3:30 pm
$20 at Ventfort, $20 plus ticket fee for Zoom

Described by the Boston Globe as the “Balzac of Boston History,” Anthony Sammarco will present a lecture on “Molasses: From the Slave Trade to Boston’s Great Molasses Flood”  here at the mansion.

Molasses has a rich history in the Caribbean, according to Sammarco, where sugar cane has been cultivated for centuries.  Molasses is a byproduct made when sugars are extracted from sugar cane. It was a popular liquid sweetener throughout the United States in the early 20th century.

Massachusetts had an integral connection as part of the Triangle Trade, the term used for a major part of the 18th century world economy.  Rum from New England was traded in Africa for slaves, which were brought to the West Indies where they cultivated sugar cane.  Molasses was then shipped to New England and often used in the distillation of rum.

Sammarco will also explore the involvement of the Isaac Royall family of Medford, MA, in the 18th century molasses trade, the Lawrence Rum Distillery, tea-totalism and the abolitionist causes of the 19th century, concluding with the Great Molasses Flood of 1919, an extraordinary event that has become an integral part of the Boston’s North End history.

Sammarco is the author of over sixty books on the history and development of Boston, as well as a lecturer on these subjects.  Among his best sellers are Lost Boston, The History of Howard Johnson’s: How a Massachusetts Soda Fountain Became a Roadside Icon and The Baker Chocolate Company: A Sweet History.  He has taught at The Urban College of Boston since 1997, where he was named Educator of the Year.  He also teaches Boston history at the Boston University Metropolitan College.

This presentation can be seen either in person at Ventfort Hall or via Zoom. Tickets for the Sammarco talk are $20. To view on Zoom register at

To attend at Ventfort Hall reservations are strongly suggested as sitting is limited. For reservations to attend at Ventfort Hall call us at 413-637-3206. The museum’s traditional Victorian Teas cannot be served until further notice also due to the coronavirus. Masks and strict spacing for seating will be honored.