Friday, March 16, 2012

Pittsburgh "Smoke City"

“Midday darkness” Credit: Smoke Control Lantern Slides, Archives Service Center, University of PittsburghFor over a century, Pittsburgh was known for the foulness of our air — it was the “The Smoky City.” Pittsburgh was called “hell with the lid off” in an 1866 article in The Atlantic Monthly and “the dirtiest pile of slag in the United States” by the National Municipal Review in 1944. In the 1939 film The City (video here), scene after scene of Pittsburgh is used as the prime example of how we had destroyed our cities through pollution. An extreme concentration of heavy industry often turned day into night and destroyed the health of the citizens, but as the film’s narrator intones, “smoke makes prosperity — no matter if you choke on it.” - MARIA LUPINACCI

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