a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Downtown deserted

Checking into the old Donora Hotel is impossible these days, as many of the buildings in this old steel town in Southwestern Pennsylvania see little, if any, traffic.
The stores began to close after the borough became home in the 1960s to the first major steel mill to be idled in the United States. Many mills would follow its lead, leaving behind a string of brownfields across the Pittsburgh region.
Donora’s furnaces began to dim after a 1948 smog lingered over this bend in the Monongahela River Valley for days, making history as the nation’s worst air pollution disaster. It paved the way for groundbreaking U.S. clean air legislation that made it more costly for steel giants to do business.
Now, at night, Donora's main drag looks akin to an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

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