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The Original 9/11, Except it was on 9/16

This was a bit of history I never knew:


"Wall Street bomb." Aftermath of the explosion that killed dozens of people in New York's financial district on September 16, 1920, when a horse wagon loaded with dynamite and iron sash weights blew up in front of the J.P. Morgan bank at 23 Wall Street. The attack, which was attributed to Italian anarchists, was never solved. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.

This is from Shorpy.com, a blog that has daily posts with really nice photography from the 19th and early 20th centuries.  The photo above is actually just a thumbnail - go to the original post and click on the full size image.  All of their photos are posted in huge, high-resolution scans.

Posted on November 21, 2008 at 11:13 AM | Permalink


Actually there is an original 9/11. It happened, I believe in 1683. The Ottoman Turks had advanced to Vienna with an overwhelming force that was surprised and routed, primarily by Polish Cavalry. The Muslim tide was beaten back and Europe remained Christian. Visit the Blog Gates of Vienna and check the sidebar. It's a great story.

Posted by: feeblemind | Nov 21, 2008 12:39:20 PM

American Heritage Magazine had a nice article on this in December 2001


When you hear about the Red Scare, this is what started it.

Posted by: L Nettles | Nov 21, 2008 12:40:21 PM

There's something almost dadaesque about the idea that the first car bomb involved a horse-drawn wagon. It's like finding out that the first suicide bombing in Israel was carried out by Japanese communists.

Posted by: Blackadder | Nov 21, 2008 2:40:26 PM

Shorpy.com. Highly recommended. It just took 45 minutes out of my life and I'm going back for more. :)

Posted by: JoeH | Nov 21, 2008 5:52:49 PM

If you go to Wall Street today you can still see the damage to the J. P. Morgan bank. It isn't much. Just a few chunks out of the wall.

Posted by: J Howe | Nov 22, 2008 7:20:59 AM

See? Unregulated markets are dangerous….

Posted by: Mesa Econoguy | Nov 22, 2008 8:43:44 AM

How many virgins does a Japanese communist suicide bomber get?

Posted by: dearieme | Nov 22, 2008 11:31:57 AM

Actually, the first 911 was in February 26, 1993 when a truck bomb was detonated inside the parking garage of one of the World Trade Center towers. The man who built the bomb, Emad Salem, confessed in his trial that yes, he did it.

Do some searches. Find out what Salem's sentence was. Go ahead. Find out what happened to the man who blew up the World Trade Center and almost collapsed the tower in 1993.

Posted by: Caver | Nov 23, 2008 8:26:05 PM

Looking at the Wall Street crater formed i would say it is about 2 feet deep - if that.

Now recall the depth of the crater outside the foyer of the Islamabad Marriott Hotel shown on photos taken 21 Sep 08 - the following day. The story there was that it was a truck bomb with two sucide bombers. The crater produced is 20feet deep x 60feet across. The still available reportage asserts that it was 1300+ pound bomb. Other reportage was of a eyewitness who was close enough to be knocked unconscious, who said that it was a six wheeler loaded with bricks; which presumably leaves space on board for the bomb ?

Conclusion: the device was located 20 feet underground and was set off with the truck standing directly over it, at the guard point to the hotel where all vehicles are required to halt before proceeding.

All CCTV shows prolonged burning (first small, then larger) within the cabin of the truck, but CCTV cuts out before the blast - burning is not to be confused with detonation, as was intended by this.

This means that had the CCTV not been cut we would have seen the truck either disintegrate or be hoisted into the air, depending on whether the device was on board or deep within the road.

As they chose to cut the CCTV moments before the explosion we may conclude that the device was located deep within the road.

The kind of device ? There is in the reportage an observation by a doctor who saw the casualties and remarked that many had severe burns, others with head injuries or cuts.

The hotel itself is intact but burnt out from the inside, as all the heavy curtains caught fire simultaneously on both wings of the hotel.

What kind of bomb also has intense heat ? This is not high explosive of the regular military grade as that is just blast, and 53+ people were killed.

Only a small nuke fits the bill, perhaps just 2 ton TNT equivalent.

Btw, many thanks for the photo, i did not know of this.

Posted by: michaelm | Nov 23, 2008 9:48:23 PM

Just a note on suicide bombers for those who study this topic. I wouldn't doubt that throughout history, if you massacre POWs (or if they think that's the case), suicide bombing becomes a natural course.

Additionally, as a backgrounder on your article, remember also a huge number of Americans had just perished both in WWI and the Spanish Flu epidemic, which likely emboldened the communists beliefs that discord needed only the wick to be lit, just as it did with the assassination of US President William McKinley in Buffalo, NY, on September 6, 1901 by a verifiable follower of communist Emma Goldman.

If you're really bored, LOL...

Posted by: Eric Vaughan | Nov 24, 2008 1:40:53 AM

FWIW, in 1920 when they said "anarchists", they meant "communists". I guess the term communists didn't kick in right away.

Posted by: happyjuggler0 | Nov 26, 2008 10:23:20 PM

J.P.Morgan financed the Bolsheviks in 1918, using the US Red Cross delegation to Petrograd, and had quite cozy relations with them for some time afterward ... not very hard to believe, since in the cesspool of the Russian Revolutions of 1917-1918, the Bolsheviks seemed to be the most moderate, among the extreme leftists (Anarchists and Social Revolutionaries) and the extreme right (the various White Guards, German puppet regimes in Ukraine etc.); the way one British journalist put it, the best propagandists for the Bolsheviks were the various anti-Bolsheviks ... around 1920 the Bolsheviks were pressuring the Anarchists quite hard, so an Anarchist bomber makes sense.

Posted by: Emil | Nov 29, 2008 8:22:42 AM

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