It comes as a surprise to many folks, today, when they are told that my tiny hometown of Webster, Pa., was once a lovely and growing small metropolis in the late 1880s for a variety of reasons, including the expanding local farming industry.
Across the Monongahela River at the time Donora hadn't been founded and that area was part of a sparse farming section of Carroll Township.
Its Westmoreland County neighbor to the east, on the other hand, was quickly developing the area shown in the top photo which was known then as North Webster to accomodate growth also attributed to the boat building industry.
Webster's expansion would soon be overshadowed by the steel industry, which took over the Donora pastures and spewed pollution that choked out its downwind neighbors.
The photo, below, shows how the area looks today from the same vantage point in a post-industrial downturn.