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On November 9, 1965, the Great Blackout of the Northeast began

November 9, 2025

On November 9, 1965, the Great Blackout of the Northeast began. The mass power outage affected 30 million people in eight northeastern U.S. states, as well as Ontario and Quebec. Beginning in the middle of rush hour, the blackout lasted for 14 hours and brought the area to a stand still, with traffic lights out and commuters trapped in stopped trains and elevators.

What caused it? A transmission line near Ontario tripped and created a chain reaction as power lines were overwhelmed by a power surge. The outage led to better quality regulation by power companies, though an even larger blackout would occur in the same region in 2003.

 

 

Outdoor Scaffolding, Fermín Revueltas, 1928

-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer

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Date:
November 9, 2025
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