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...

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Hey, I Can Hear You Now!

After numerous tests and bunches of conversations with my wife that went something like this: Her: Could you let the dog in? Me: What? Her:...

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...

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What’s In a Word? The Etymology of Smog

"The word thus coined is a contraction of smoke and fog — 'smog' — and its introduction was received with applause as being eminently...

Donora Smog Event, Just Me

Gone Was the Wind

If even a slight breeze had strolled through the Donora valley that week the smoke would have broken up, giving residents some respite....

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Our Last ‘Real’ Conversation

To his friends, co-workers, and extended family, my father was friendly, even gregarious, charming, polite, and an intelligent...

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 Smog Event, Just Me

Even Cleaner Air Starts in Donora

With the EPA undergoing extensive downsizing and the Trump administration wanting to open previously protected lands to oil and shale...

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...

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Life and Death Meet in a Vet Clinic

Lots of big dogs in here today, I thought, as I sat in the waiting room of the Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Leavittown...

Donora Smog Event

Still Fighting for Clean Air Today

"People would come to the town, and they would say, 'What’s that smell?' And people who lived here would say, 'What smell?' And my...

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Donora: The Birthplace of Clean Air

Donora, a riverside mill town in southwest Pennsylvania, suffered a prolonged bout of concentrated, toxic smog in late October 1948, during...

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My Best Little Poop Watcher

Our littlest doggie, Georgie, has a detestable little habit of defecating in the dining room. She was a rescue that had been picked off the...

Donora Smog Event

Temperature Inversions and Deadly Smog

Common to all three tragedies were two key elements. First, large factories in each area had been spewing enormous amounts of pollutants...