Donora, Pennsylvania facts for kids

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Donora
Borough
Concrete houses in the Cement City neighborhood
Concrete houses in the Cement City neighborhood
Etymology: portmanteau of "William Donner" and "Nora Mellon"
Location of Donora in Washington County
Location of Donora in Washington County
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Washington
Established 1900
Area
 • Total 2.0 sq mi (5 km2)
 • Land 1.9 sq mi (5 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (1 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 4,781
 • Density 2,390/sq mi (923/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-4)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 15033
Area code(s) 724 Exchange: 379
Website DonoraBoro.org
Map of Donora PA 1901
A pictorial map of Donora from 1901.

Donora is a borough in Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States, approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Pittsburgh on the Monongahela River.

Donora was incorporated in 1901. Donora got its name from a combination of William Donner and Nora Mellon, banker Andrew W. Mellon's wife. Donora's nickname is "The Home of Champions" mainly because of the large number of famous athletes who have called Donora their home. Agriculture, coal-mining, steel-making, wire-making, and other industries were conducted in Donora early in its history. In 1910, 8,174 people lived there; in 1920, 14,131; and in 1940, 13,180 people lived in Donora. According to U.S. census figures, the population was 5,653 in 2000 and 4,781 in 2010. Donora is a Rust Belt place which has lost most of its industrial capacity. It is in the "Mon valley" 5 miles (8.0 km) downriver from Charleroi and 25 miles (40 km) upstream of Braddock.

Recently, Donora and other Mid-Mon Valley communities have seen an economic re-emergence as a result of the increased economic activity in the area of the newly emerging Marcellus Shale natural gas industry. Local government leaders hope that the natural gas boom will renew the prosperity that was once a trademark of the Mon Valley region.

History

In 1794, the Whiskey Insurrectionists held several meetings at Fells Church, which is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) east of Donora,.

A trolley line opened in Donora on December 15, 1901, linking First and McKean and Fifteenth Street and Meldon. It was extended in 1911 to Black Diamond to connect to the Charleroi to Pittsburgh interurban trolley. The line was abandoned on May 5, 1953.

The town was the scene of the infamous Donora Smog of 1948. Between October 26 and October 31, 1948, an air inversion trapped industrial effluent (air pollution) from the American Steel and Wire plant and Donora Zinc Works. "In three days, 20 people died... After the inversion lifted, another 50 died, including Lukasz Musial, the father of baseball great Stan Musial. Hundreds more finished the rest of their lives with damaged lungs and hearts. But another 40 years would pass before the whole truth about Donora's bad air made public-health history." Today, the town is home to the Donora Smog Museum which tells the impact of the Donora Smog on the air quality standards enacted by the federal government in subsequent years.

Donora is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its famous neighborhood known as "Cement City". The homes built in the neighborhood are completely made out of pre-formed and poured concrete. This structural building technique was championed by Thomas Edison and there are additional neighborhoods throughout the United States that have also used this technique. The homes were built as employee housing for the Donora Wire and Steel Mill in the early 1900s."

The Cement City Historic District and Webster Donora Bridge are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

Donora is located at 40°10′33″N 79°51′41″W / 40.17583°N 79.86139°W / 40.17583; -79.86139 (40.175879, −79.861264).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2), of which, 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2) of it (7.32%) is water.

Climate

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Donora has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Climate data for Donora, Pennsylvania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.61
(40.3)
6.06
(42.9)
11.5
(52.7)
18.22
(64.8)
23.78
(74.8)
28
(82.4)
29.89
(85.8)
29.17
(84.5)
25.89
(78.6)
19.61
(67.3)
12.5
(54.5)
6.17
(43.1)
17.94
(64.3)
Average low °C (°F) -4.94
(23.1)
-4.44
(24.0)
-0.44
(31.2)
4.56
(40.2)
9.89
(49.8)
15
(59.0)
17.22
(63.0)
16.67
(62.0)
13
(55.4)
6.72
(44.1)
1.83
(35.3)
-3
(26.6)
6.1
(43)
Precipitation mm (inches) 66
(2.6)
56
(2.2)
86
(3.4)
84
(3.3)
97
(3.8)
97
(3.8)
94
(3.7)
94
(3.7)
74
(2.9)
66
(2.6)
69
(2.7)
64
(2.5)
945
(37.2)
Source: Weatherbase

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 8,174
1920 14,131 72.9%
1930 13,905 −1.6%
1940 13,180 −5.2%
1950 12,186 −7.5%
1960 11,131 −8.7%
1970 8,825 −20.7%
1980 7,524 −14.7%
1990 5,928 −21.2%
2000 5,653 −4.6%
2010 4,781 −15.4%
Est. 2015 4,663 −2.5%
Sources:

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,653 people, 2,469 households, and 1,434 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,973.8 people per square mile (1,148.8/km²). There were 2,958 housing units at an average density of 1,556.1 per square mile (601.1/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 82.10% White, 14.84% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 2.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.02% of the population.

There were 2,469 households out of which 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 37.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the Washington County borough the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 25.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 82.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.4 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $27,939, and the median income for a family was $37,176. Males had a median income of $33,725 versus $22,346 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $17,893. About 12.4% of families and 16.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.2% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those age 65 or over.

Cement City

Donora is home to the world's 2nd largest "Cement City" housing tract, innovated by Thomas Edison. The neighborhood consists of 80 "poured in place" homes.


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