Never a clear day in Early Hammond....
If you look at pictures of early Hammond
you will see evidence of the poor air quality. Pictures taken from State and
Hohman, looking south to Broken Corner, show the problems photographers had in
capturing a clear picture. This is not the problem of the camera lens or the
ability of the photographer to focus his lens properly. The smog is from
the heavy presence of steam locomotives filling the air with steam and soot as
they belched their way through the downtown area. The very technology that
helped develop Northwest Indiana,
was the same technology that polluted the air that the residents breathed.
Labor Day Parade in downtown Hammond, 1907, was a festive time for the hardworking residents. But the air quality is poor as smoke from passing locomotives just two blocks east, block the sunshine.
This photo from the 1920's looking south
on Hohman Avenue at Sibley, shows the density of the smog.
Source: Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
The smoke drifts over the roofs of buildings on the northeast corner of Hohman & Sibley preventing the photographer from even seeing the roof. Visibility was less than a quarter mile because of the railroads that transversed the city.
Taken from top of the Lake County Superior Courthouse on Hohman Avenue, looking south toward Harrison Park, your vision is limited by the smoke that hangs in the air.
Air quality issues were abundant in
railroad centers. Here in Pennsylvania,
the sky is filled with smoke that lingers long after the steam engines depart the railroad yard.
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