Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Death in Donora



That would be Donora, Pennsylvania. Consider this your little factoid for the day. I just heard it on Marketplace so I decided to check it out (on Wikipedia of course.)

1948 Donora smog

”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, by which time 20 residents of Donora had died and approximately a third to one half of the town's population of 14,000 residents had been sickened.”

When I heard it, I thought they were talking about the late 1800s or early 1900s. But 1948? After World War II? Amazing. What would you like to bet someone in the town said, “What smell? All I smell is money” while this incident was occurring?





One last fact before I go. (I’m a link junkie on Wikipedia. I can’t help myself. I always have to clink on a link.)

Donora, Pennsylvania

”Donora got its name from a combination of William Donner and Nora Mellon, banker Andrew W. Mellon's wife.”

William Donner was Union Steel. Mellon was Union Trust and Union Savings Bank -- before he became Secretary of the Treasury and helped usher in The Great Depression.

What do you know? It does smell like money.

P.S. I noticed a cool video on Marketplace while I was adding the hyperlinks to this piece. You really should go there and read the whole story. Notice the name of the university.)

Don Brown
August 2, 2011

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