Riot on Broad Street

June 11, 1837

Tension between the Irish Americans and the British Americans had been running high for quite some time on the eastern seaboard, leading to a brawl in the streets of Boston that is still considered to be the worst rioting the town has ever seen.

On June 11, 1837, firefighters were returning to the station after putting out a fire over in Roxbury. All of them happened to be Protestant Yankees, and the majority of them had stopped off in a local pub on the way back to the station. Heading down Broad Street right around the same time was a group of Irish Catholics, in the midst of a funeral procession.

History between the two groups was already strained, and when one of the Yankees allegedly “bumped” a member of the funeral procession, the Broad Street Riot was underway. One of the firemen headed over to the firehouse and sounded the alarm, bringing in firemen from all across the city of Boston.

Many of the Irishmen scattered at this point; however, when the firetrucks began to arrive, more joined in. It was not until over 1000 people were involved in the riot that the mayor called in the military and put an end to it. Houses had been broken into and vandalized, and when all was said and done, the Municipal Court ordered 17 people to pay three hundred bucks to cover the damages. Three of the Irishmen were sentenced to “hard labor,” while none of the Yankees were found guilty.

Today on Broad Street you can find restaurants like Blue, Inc (visit the website here) with “Boston’s Hottest Chef” or the Warehouse Bar & Grill (visit the website here) for some crispy hog wings or potato chip nachos.

Try making some Boston Baked Beans in your kitchen…here is the best recipe around:

Boston Baked Beans


3 (14 oz) cans navy beans, undrained
½ lb. bacon
1 finely diced onion
3 T molasses
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground dry mustard
½ cup ketchup
1 T Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup brown sugar


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Using a 2 quart casserole dish, cover the bottom with beans, then layer the bacon and onions in.

In a separate pan, combine the molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and pour over the top of the beans, then cover the casserole dish.

Bake for one hour.


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