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Old 11-11-2011, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Due North of Potemkin City Limits
1,237 posts, read 825,299 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knowledgeiskey View Post
How was the air quality in those days? Was it really foggy on most days due to steel production?
My mom grew up in the eastern suburbs. Se told me that in the 50's and 60's, people couldn't hang their clothes outside on lines to dry because the air was so bad. The soot literally blotted out the sun some days. She said it was worse in the winter months for some reason....Maybe having something to do with the lower humidity levels.

I can vaguely remember going into town for Pirates games in the early-mid 80's, and noticing a general griminess and foul/bitter odor the closer I got to the city. In recent years however, that's essentially gone. Pittsburgh's air quality is pretty good in my opinion, and it's an overall clean city. In the late 90's and early 2000's, litter was the major plague of the city. Now however, people seem to be practicing what they preach when they say they have "hometahn pride n'nat", and you don't see nearly as much trash laying around.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Due North of Potemkin City Limits
1,237 posts, read 825,299 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h_curtis View Post
If it don't kill ya, it makes your stronger.
In Donora, it mainly just killed people:

1948 Donora smog - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Due North of Potemkin City Limits
1,237 posts, read 825,299 times
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Lol, I just caught this from the Wikipedia page:

"The smog first rolled into Donora on October 27, 1948. By the following day it was causing coughing and other signs of respiratory distress for many residents of the community in the Monongahela River valley. Many of the illnesses and deaths were initially attributed to asthma. The smog continued until it rained on October 31"

Frequent rain was probably one of the saving graces to the entire region in those days. Imagine how bad it would have been had Pittsburgh been in an area of the country that experienced droughts? No matter what the circumstance, in Pittsburgh....you can always count on mother nature to assist (for better or worse) with a dumping of water from the sky within 3 days from any date.
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
2,110 posts, read 2,570,405 times
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The air got progressively better after World War II when the government instituted smoke control and people converted from coal heat to gas and the railroads converted to deisel. A lot of heavy industry did its part to clean up as well, so there was a marked improvement by the 1950s. After the EPA was formed in the early 70s, industry was mandated to clean up their emissions, which helped a lot.

Remember that before WWII there were steel plants closer to downtown (Lawrenceville and the Strip), and the J&L mill was on both sides of the Monongahela at the foot of Oakland and on the South Side, plus the coke works in Hazelwood. The Oakland mill closed in the late 70s, the South Side works closed in the early 80s, and the Hazelwood plant closed in the early 90s, I believe.
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:31 PM
 
6,671 posts, read 4,059,310 times
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The J&L South Side works was an amazing sight...huge.

Historic Pittsburgh Video Collection: Aerial View of Jones and Laughlin Steel

I remember the constant hiss from the plant and there was a smokestack which had a flame always burning. To me it was an eternal flame as it was always lit.

Last edited by MathmanMathman; 11-11-2011 at 01:41 PM..
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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Another view of the J&L.


Pittsburgh Noir (1955) - YouTube
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Old 11-11-2011, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
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Very cool videos. It was quite a sight - could be seen for miles. And the orange glow lit up the night skies. Imagine this line of mills running for 40 or so miles from the South Side all the way to Donora. You definitely knew you were in Pittsburgh - The Steel Center. I guess that's why we have such a rugged image.
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Old 11-11-2011, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
4,333 posts, read 2,783,786 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geeo View Post
Very cool videos. It was quite a sight - could be seen for miles. And the orange glow lit up the night skies. Imagine this line of mills running for 40 or so miles from the South Side all the way to Donora. You definitely knew you were in Pittsburgh - The Steel Center. I guess that's why we have such a rugged image.

I always found it interesting as a kid riding with my family out the Parkway East and seeing the flames and smoke coming from the J&L works with Greenfield Hill and the greek church in the greenfield run being lit up by the fire.
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:50 PM
 
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it just ranked #5 recently still...
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:10 PM
Status: "Happy Halloween!" (set 6 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
69,149 posts, read 58,270,444 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MathmanMathman View Post
I think during WWII the pollution controls were lifted with the result that the streetlights were literally on even during the day. James Parton in 1868 described Pittsburgh infamously as "hell with the lid taken off".

Reactions mixed on comparison of city to hell - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

It also earned the nickname "Smoky City". I recall a joke on the original Jetson's cartoon that alluded to Pittsburgh's polluted smoky air (I think it has been since edited out). Richard King Mellon spearheaded Pittsburgh's cleanup and Renaissance but he needed David L Lawrence's as a political ally. Pittsburgh cleaned itself considerably even with the steel mills but I do recall a sort of sulfur smell in the air even out to Monroeville as a kid.
I don't think there were any pollution controls during WW II. If there were, they were very weak.
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