c. 1940

Image: University of Pittsburgh

Located at the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join to form the Ohio, Pittsburgh rapidly grew into a major industrial center in the 19th century

The bustling city became famous for existing under a perpetual haze of coal smoke. As early as 1807, residents were discussing what could be done to address the black dust filling the air and coating buildings.

The smoke control movement was hampered by numerous myths and misconceptions about smoke. Many believed smokiness was indicative of high productivity, or even that smoke was good for the lungs or aided crop growth. Read more…

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The coal smoke in Pittsburgh used to block out the sun