Beginning in the spring of 1918 and circling the world three times in the next 18 months, an influenza pandemic killed as many as 50 million people. The disease killed many more than the ongoing First World War. Find out why it was called the Spanish Flu and lots of other amazing details. And thanks for listening.
On October 8th, 1871, the same day as the Great Chicago Fire, the nation's most deadly wildfire raged through eastern Wisconsin. The Peshtigo Fire killed an estimated 2,000 Americans. It left a permanent mark on the Midwest. (IMPORTANT CORRECTION: Per listener Neil Miller, Door county is in Wisconsin, not Michigan. Thank you, Neil!)
From December 16th, 1811 to February 7th 1812, the area where the boot heel of Missouri meets Tennessee and Kentucky were devastated by over 2,000 earthquakes. The initial quakes were so strong they rang church bells in Boston and woke President Madison and his wife Dolly from their sleep in Washington, D.C. Lakes drained, steaming hot sulphur geysers blew up from the ground and the Mississippi River ran backwards. This often overlooked seismic area is still active today.
Three minutes before midnight March 12th, 1928, the Saint Francis Dam near Santa Clarita, California catastrophically failed. This is the second-greatest loss of life in California's history after the 1906 Earthquake. Find out how a series of poor decisions put hundreds of people in harm's way.
The morning of April 18th, 1906, the city of San Francisco was struck by a 7.1 earthquake. The quake and resultant fire killed over 3,000 people and left nearly 200,000 homeless. This episodes includes contemporary, on site interviews conducted in 1906.
In the early 20th century labor unions were beginning to work for changes in safety and health laws at the workplace. But it took two factory fires and hundreds of deaths to finally get the attention of the legislature. The Triangle Waist Factory in New York City and the Binghamton Clothing Factory in Binghamton, New York changed the lives of workers nationwide.
Love Canal's Environmental Disaster was over a century in the making. Hundreds of people suffered the effects of toxins and carcinogens until the US government stepped in. This disaster sparked legislation that created the EPA and the Superfund program.