Donora History

Donora History, Donora Smog Event

The Curious Case of Stanley Sawa

One of the first stories I heard about the Donora smog of 1948 concerned the football game between the Donora Dragons and the Monongahela...

Donora History, Donora Smog Event

Where Did the Smog Victims Live and Die?

Knowing where each victim lived — and died — can be instructive for several reasons. Consider how many of those victims and their...

Donora History

The Acceptable Boundaries of Racism in 1940s Donora

Stacey is right, race relations in the town were indeed strange, but it didn't seem to bother anyone much, apparently not even black...

Donora History

Social Life in 1940s Donora

For decades during the mid-1900s a Chamber of Commerce sign at the Donora town line read, “NEXT TO YOURS THE BEST TOWN IN THE USA.”...

Donora History, Donora Smog Event

Saving Donorans on a Deadly Night

He strapped on the oxygen tank he kept at home, the green one, labeled TO BE FILLED WITH COMPRESSED OXYGEN ONLY, and walked out the back...

Donora History

Donorans, Dressings, and the Fight Against Cancer

Cancer was once a word uttered soto voce, a word so dangerous it would conjure demons and visions of the Spectre of Death. A barely-known...

Donora History, Donora Smog Event, Just Me

Who Died in Donora’s Deadly Smog?

It seems that not everyone received a death certificate in 1948, or, if they did, it was lost or never archived. Marriage applications,...

Donora History

Who Was William Donner, the Man?

Most people know Donner, if they know him at all, as the founder of Donora, a town with a name unlike any other in the world. They might...

Donora History, William Donner

A Lesson in Negotiating

Donora, Pennsylvania, would likely not exist today if town founder William H. Donner hadn't finally persuaded Margaret Heslep, a...

Donora History

5 Tips for Building Your Own Town

If you've ever wanted to start your own town, there may be no better formula for it than the one William H. Donner used to start Donora at...

Donora History

Is Andrew Posey Buried Here?

You can see the gravesite from the Stan "The Man" Musial Bridge, but you would find it unremarkable. It is an odd gravesite, sitting as it...

Donora History, Just Me

Donora’s Field of Dreams

Probably the most famous player to ever sprint down this field was the legendary Joseph "Joe Cool" Montana. Montana was unequivocally one...

Donora History

The 5th Street Stairs: A Sweet Story

On 5th Street now, between Prospect and Murray Avenues, there is a street-wide swath of grass with a set of stairs on either side. The...