Walls peppered with holes from the blast.

Pockmarks from the Wall Street Bomb Blast

Field review by the editors.

New York, New York

Almost everyone who visits Wall Street takes a picture of the statue of George Washington outside of Federal Hall. Almost no one takes pictures of the building across the street. Or, specifically, of the pockmarks left in the building's stone exterior from a bomb blast on September 16, 1920. It killed 38 people, and injured hundreds.

The bomb was the ancestor of the truck bomb -- it was a horse-drawn wagon bomb, packed with dynamite and iron shrapnel. Despite the bomb's deadly ferocity, the Stock Exchange vowed to open for business the next day. It did, but the hasty overnight clean-up meant that the pockmarks were left unrepaired -- and Wall Street has just never got around to patching them. It's a busy place.

There were many bold pledges of justice from officials in the bombing's aftermath, but the people behind it were never caught, or even identified. It was assumed that they were anarchists or communists, unhappy with capitalism. But who knows? Maybe it was just a wagon piled with dynamite and metal junk, and its innocent-but-careless owners were blown to bits when they hit a Wall Street pot hole.

Pockmarks from the 1920 Wall Street bomb blast.

Pockmarks from the Wall Street Bomb Blast

Wall St., New York, NY
On the south side of Wall St., roughly a third of a block east of Nassau St., just east of and across the street from Federal Hall and its George Washington statue.
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In the region:
Big Head Berlin Wall Slab, New York, NY - < 1 mi.

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September 25, 2020

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