Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More Pictures from America's Polluted Past

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. In that vane we think it is worth looking back at why we have an EPA and pollution regulations.

Saint Louis City Street before Smoke Ordinance, circa 1939.
Movie marquee is so covered with pollution you can't read it.

Saint Louis city street before smoke ordinance with marquee for the Saint Louis Theater. The marquee reads, "Dead End Kids / Dress Parade / & Wm. Boyd". A liquor store sign is visible under the marquee. Traffic is in the street, and there is a pedestrian on the sidewalk. The remarkable success of the Saint Louis smoke control program made a strong impression on Pittsburgh, a city confronted with similar air pollution problems. Pittsburgh drew directly from this project to justify and foster its own environmental regeneration.

Corner of Liberty and Fifth Avenues in Pittsbourgh, PA 1940.
This is during the day time.

Street-level view of the corner of Liberty and Fifth Avenues taken at approximately 10:35 AM, focusing on pedestrians wearing hats. A Coca Cola sign is clearly visible in the background, as well as the Standard Typewriters Co. sign. The smoke in this image is particularly heavy.

Men with Hats, circa 1940's.
Again during the day time.

Group of men wearing hats and standing on a sidewalk. Cars and streetlights can be seen in the background.

Cop directs traffic in Saint Louis City Street before Smoke Ordinance
Cop directs traffic in Saint Louis, MO.

Saint Louis city street seen before smoke ordinance, featuring the Club Continental, TWA sign, American Airlines sign, and police officer directing traffic.

Corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street in Pittsburgh circa 1940's.
Notice the street car tracks.

Street-level view of the corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street, featuring the Warner Theater, McCrory's, Peggy Ann, Lerner Shops, Jean's Beauty Shop, and Liggett's Soda. Mannequins can be seen in the window of the Peggy Ann shop. There is little traffic in the street.

View of St. Louis showing the St. Louis Union Station and clock tower. Univesity of Pittsburgh.
Smokey Traffic

View of St. Louis showing the St. Louis Union Station and clock tower. It was taken as part of a smoke investigation study for Pittsburgh smoke control. For more than a century, Pittsburgh was marked as a smoky city. In 1941 an effective smoke control ordinance was passed in the city of Pittsburgh, but the onset of World War II delayed the enactment of the legislation until 1946. City-wide unity on the topic ensured observation of the law from industry and every member of the community. 


Smoke Control Lantern Slide Collection, ca. 1940-1950, AIS.1978.22Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh


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    1. Thanks Matt, really appreciate your kind words.


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