Saturday, July 30, 2016

Today -100: July 30, 1916: Of barge bangs, streetcar strikes, and wooden legs

Barges filled with high explosives blow up in New York Harbor in a series of explosions, probably started by a fire, in the middle of the night. They’re heard throughout much of the city and New Jersey and made more audible to many by the sudden absence of windows, thousands of them (the New York Plate Glass Insurance Company is fuuuuucked.) There’s also a lot of damage on Ellis Island.

In a street-car strike in Manhattan, thousands of strikers and others just enjoying a nice Saturday afternoon, attacking cars on the 3rd Avenue line and fighting cops, as was the custom.

There’s also a garment workers’ strike in the city. 200 Wobblies attack the offices of an Italian-language newspaper, Il Progresso Italo-Americano, which refused to give them space to call for the release of Carlo Tresca and other Wobblies charged with murder in Minnesota (Tresca, at least, will be released after being held 9 months without trial).

Frank Doring, an employee of an artificial limb factory in Massachusetts, was detained by British authorities whilst en route to France to establish a factory to manufacture wooden legs for wounded soldiers, when they discovered that he has German parents. They held him several weeks as a suspected spy before deporting him back to the US, where he commits suicide to draw attention to Britain being mean to him.

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