1948 Smog 75th YEAR OF REMEMBRaNCE 2023


last updated 03/19/23

1948 Smog 75th Year of Remembrance - 2023 marks the 75th year of the infamous Smog of 1948. We will have a series of events over the course of this year to mark the anniversary and remember those victims who lost their lives during that fateful week in October of 1948.
In Remembrance:
                         Ivan Ceh                                    Susan Gnora                       Andrew Odelga                         Barbara Chinchar                     Milton Hall                           Ida Orr                         Taylor Circle                              Emma Hobbs                      Thomas Short                         John Cunningham                    Ignace Hollowiti                  Peter Starcovich                         Bernardo Di Sanza                   George Hvizdak                   Perry Stevens                         Michael Dorincz                        Jane Kirkwood                    Sawka Trubalis                         William Gardiner                       Marcel Kraska                     John West
The 1948 Donora Smog Disaster - The Donora Works of American Steel and Wire Company stretched nearly three miles along the Monongahela River thirty miles south of Pittsburgh. Within the industrial complex, that employed over eight thousand, were Blast Furnaces, Open Hearths, a Blooming Mill, Rod Mill, Wire Works, Nail Mill, Acid Plant and the largest Zinc Works in the world. The red, black, white and yellow smoke pouring from the Works frequently forced streetlamps and headlights to burn twenty-four hours a day. As the week before Halloween 1948 began the people of Donora were focusing on a parade, a football game, "Trick or Treat" and a national election. No one could know that a severe temperature inversion had settled over the valley. By Wednesday visibility was as limited as anyone could remember, plus many people were having difficulty breathing. The effluent from the mill that was typically carried away by prevailing wind currents reached the ceiling of the inversion and fell back to earth in the stagnant atmosphere. The weekend was a nightmare. Thousands were ill, hundreds needed medical attention, and by Monday morning nineteen were dead. The Donora Smog Disaster was a wakeup call to years of ignoring the deadly effects of industrial pollution. The incident sparked a conflict that continues to shape the political and economic debate, not only in the United States but, around the world, between industrial and economic interests and pioneers for the protection of the environment and public health.
December 14, 2022
On December 14, 2022, the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) virtual webinar (90 minutes) featured a discussion about the 1948 Smog and titled, "Making the Connection: What the Donora Smog Disaster Can Teach Us 74 Years Later" that featured Brian Charlton from the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum, Scott Beveridge, a retired, award-winning investigative journalist from the Observer-Reporter newspaper in Washington County, and Myranda Fullerton, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service. To see the webinar, click - GASP: Donora Smog Disaster or click below.
April 1, 2023
Book Signing
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Venue - Perked Up Cafe
530 McKean Avenue, Charleroi
Book Signing
4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Venue - Little City Coffee
418 W Main St., Monongahela
April 2, 2023
Book Signing
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Venue - Donora Public Library
510 Meldon Avenue, Donora
DONORA DEATH FOG - Clean Air and the Tragedy of a Pennsylvania Mill Town
by Andy McPheepublished in 2023 by University of Pittsburgh Press Comprehensive historical non-fiction book about the founding of Donora in 1901 through the six-day smog event in 1948 that left twenty-one people dead and thousands sick. 299 pages - softback bookmeasures 6" by 9"  $25.00
In October 1948, a seemingly average fog descended on the tiny mill town of Donora, Pennsylvania. With a population of fewer than fifteen thousand, the town’s main industry was steel and zinc mills—mills that continually emitted pollutants into the air. The six-day smog event left twenty-one people dead and thousands sick. Even after the fog lifted, hundreds more died or were left with lingering health problems. Donora Death Fog details how six fateful days in Donora led to the nation’s first clean air act in 1955, and how such catastrophes can lead to successful policy change. Andy McPhee tells the very human story behind this ecological disaster: how wealthy industrialists built the mills to supply an ever-growing America; how the town’s residents—millworkers and their families—willfully ignored the danger of the mills’ emissions; and how the gradual closing of the mills over the years following the tragedy took its toll on the town. 
About the AuthorRetired nurse and publisher now writing nonfiction books about tragic events in history. Author of nine young adult books, more than 750 health, life, and earth science articles, and publisher of more than sixty healthcare text and reference books. Consultant and Fellow of the National Writing Project. Winner of two Feature Writing awards from the Association of Educational Publishers, now a division of the American Association of Publishers. Lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two dogs.
May 19, 2023
4:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
In partnership with Allegheny CleanWays, Three Rivers WaterkeeperM&N Heating and Cooling and Air Tight Duct Cleaning.
Allegheny CleanWays’ primary goal is to clean up illegal dumpsites and litter both on land and in waterways throughout Allegheny County and beyond.
Mission - Allegheny CleanWays is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2000 to "engage and empower people to eliminate illegal dumping and littering in Allegheny County."
Vision - A clean, beautiful, and safe county for everyone.
The Tireless Project - Riverbank Cleanup
Their primary water-based cleanup program, The Tireless Project, is aimed at getting Allegheny County residents engaged with the local rivers and streams through cleaning up debris that accumulates along the shorelines. Using their 28-foot pontoon boat, Rachel Carson, their team works with volunteers to remove trash and educates them about issues affecting our waterways.
Three Rivers Waterkeeper - a close partner with Allegheny CleanWays.
Mission - is to protect the water quality of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers, and their respective watersheds.
Vision - is to have drinkable, fishable, swimmable water in the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers, and their respective watersheds.
M&N Heating and Cooling and Air Tight Duct Cleaning
M & N Heating and Cooling - a reliable, experienced and affordable locally owned by Max Noel and Natalie Botsko with over 17 years of experience working in the Mon Valley and Pittsburgh region on furnaces, air conditioners, mini-splits, hot water tanks and more.
Air Tight Duct Cleaning - Locally owned by Max Noel and Natalie Botsko. Duct Cleaning, dry vent cleaning and duct sealing.
Natalie Botsko and Max Noel have graciously volunteered their time and effort to help organize our Mon River cleanup in Donora. They are experienced in these events and we welcome their expertise.
TO SIGNUP - Donora: Monongahela River Cleanup - Donora.
TO SIGNUP - Monongahela: Two days after the Mon River Cleanup in Donora on May 21 will be the Mon City Trash Bash. The Trash Bash schedule is different than the schedule below.
STARTING POINT: 65 Washington Street in the Donora Industrial Park. The Industrial Park can be entered at First, Sixth or Eighth Streets by crossing the railroad tracks. Continue South on Washington Street toward the Stan Musial Bridge to the Apex North America parking lot. The Allegheny CleanWays registration tent will be directly across the street toward the Mon River.
REGISTRATION BEGINS: 4:30 p.m. T-shirts to the first 40-50 volunteers.
CLEANUP ENDS:  7:30 p.m.
DINNER: 8:00 p.m. Pizza and refreshments will be served at the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum located at 595 McKean Avenue (Sixth Street and McKean Avenue.)
CLEAN SHOES: If your shoes get muddy or wet during the cleanup, please bring a change of shoes before you enter the Smog Museum for dinner.
GLOVES, SAFETY VESTS and LIFE JACKETS: Provided by Allegheny CleanWays.
October 18, 2023
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
SPONSORS The following foundations and businesses helped fund the various events:
equitrans Midstream Foundation (Platinum level donor - business) - Canonsburg, PA 
The Heinz Endowments (Platinum level donor - business) - Pittsburgh, PA 
To Donate to the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museumplease use our PayPal option to the right.
If you would like to add a note along with your donation, please consider sending an email to:donorahistoricalsociety@gmail.com