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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Air Pollution Collection


Increased industrialization, demand for electricity, and growth of railroads, all of whom burned coal, created severe air pollution in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many cities, including Grand Rapids, hired smoke inspectors to help combat the problem. Louis Towner, the first smoke inspector in Grand Rapids, took these photographs of air pollution.

Air Pollution in Grand Rapids 100 Years Ago

June 24th, 2007

Photo Essay


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