Earth Day and A Burning River



Fitting thing for Earth day.
A long time ago in a city not so far away lived a river.   The river once had water that was clean.   It had fish that were eaten.   It watered crops.  It actually created a swamp where million of mink once lived.

Well, fur traders came and killed the mink.   Grover Cleaveland came and liked the river but hated the swamp.   So his group started to drain it.  The local tribes didn’t care for the swamp so settlers were left to hopefully rot there.

Several years layer.  Almost 4 scores of years actually.  A man discover that pig iron nodules in the bog (drained swampland now) could be melted into weapons.  They would never be fired.  The American Civil War ends too early.  But industry arrives here in Cleveland, OH!

The river gets flooded with smelting waste from early steel mills.  Of course, human waste was being dumped since 1798.  Some small mills would leach bleaching and binding materials too.  But it would be more industry to create a burning river!

By the 1900’s, we had a fledgling Auto industry, a giant port, and twenty plus steel yards.  The city was growing to a population of nearly a Million.  The river collected all the waste.

Starting in the 1940’s the river would occasionally catch fire.  A bridge would burn up.  The story would make the front page of several local newspapers.  TV news didn’t make it big until 1960’s.

Then something crazy happened.   It made national news on TV.  1969 was the year.   The fire burnt so fast there were no pictures!   What was a TV news crew to do?!

Get pictures from 1964!  The last massive fire that damaged bridges and roadways.  So with gallant efforts and a little misinformation, the nation rallied around the idea of clean water, clean air and maybe a better life.

Happy Earth Day, from the home of a once burning river!  😀


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