November 26 , 2008



The industrial community of Donora was founded in 1901 on a bend of the Monongahela River, 30 miles south of Pittsburgh. The founding of Donora was the result of social, political, and economic interaction among elite and powerful capitalists. Andrew and Richard Mellon partnered with William H. Donner and Henry C. Frick to create the Union Improvement Company and build a mill, developing the surrounding municipality. In less than a year, the population of Donora quickly boomed from an original 12 residents to more than 4,000 inhabitants. The opportunity for employment drew people from all over the United States and Europe, generating a diverse community. Regardless of differences, the races, religions, and ethnic groups that settled in Donora shared a common value system based on education, hard work, and devotion to faith and family.

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