The roaring 20’s began with a boom on Wall Street, literally. On September 16th 1920, a horse drawn wagon was parked in front of 23 Wall Street. The wagon was loaded down with 500 pounds of dynamite and small iron weights.
Just after 12:01pm the bomb detonated, killing 30 people and one horse instantly. Eight others died in the days following from the injuries sustained in the blast.
Many believed that the Russians were to blame and on September 17th 1920, the New York Times reported that “both police and government investigators were inclined to the theory that Reds had placed a time bomb in the wagon.”
But in an effort to reopen the New York Stock Exchange the day after the explosion, city officials cleaned up the evidence that may have been able to identify the perpetrators. In the end the FBI named Italian anarchists as the most likely suspects as they had conducted a series of bombings across the U.S. in 1919, but after 20 years the case was finally dropped and remains unsolved.
The scars of the blast can still be seen on the limestone façade at 23 Wall Street. It is the only sign that the blast occurred as there are no plaques or markers memorializing those who lost their lives in one of the earliest cases of domestic terrorism.