Terrorist Attack on Wall Street: A Portrait of 1920

This article on the most deadly terrorist attack on Wall Street was written by Evan Bleker. Evan is a private investor and founder of Broken Leg Investing & Net Net Hunter.

96 years today Wall Street experienced the most deadly terrorist attack it had ever seen.

It was 12:00 in the afternoon. The street was packed with people stepping out for a quick lunch or to meet clients in the city. On the corner of the street, pulled up next to a curb stood a lone horse. Attached to that horse was a covered wagon packed with 100lbs of TNT and a timer.

The seconds of that timer ticked past 12 noon - nobody had any suspicion that the lives of hundreds of people would be changed forever. At 12:01 the cart exploded with a fantastic force, sending automobiles flying and shooting 500lbs of small iron weights into the crowd.


The interior of the JP Morgan building, the building that stood next to the pulverized cart, was heavily damaged. The explosion was estimated to have caused $2 Million worth of damage. Some suspected that the terrorist attack on Wall Street was an attack on JP Morgan itself, but little evidence supported that theory. It was also argued that the best attack would involve planting an accomplice on the inside who could place explosives in the building itself.


Another theory was that the bomb was planted by Bolsheviks, those in support of the Russian revolution. Supporting this theory were flyers found throughout the area that had been planted just before the blast which read, "Remember, we will not tolerate any longer. Free the political prisoners, or it will be sure death for all of you." These flyers were similar to anarchist attacks in 1919 and partly responsible for launching the red scare and the hunt for communists throughout the US in the following decades.


Eager to open the street for the next day's trading, as not to disrupt the financial markets, the carnage was quickly swept up and along with it the evidence needed to identify those responsible.

Soon after the blast, the NY police force pushed for a special secret police division that they could use to route out radical elements within New York City but, after 96 years, the terrorist attack on Wall Street still hasn't been solved.


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