On a related note, in case anyone thinks the Salt Lake Valley (or any Northern Utah Valley) is experiencing pollution in some sort of new manner, I’ll relate a conversation I had with my grandmother in the 1970’s:
At the time I lived on the Avenues in Salt Lake, and my grandmother lived a few houses away. I was in my middle teens and recall a lot of discussion for the first time in my life, by local television weather people, about “temperature inversions” and the resulting air pollution during the winter.
I recall looking out over the valley and having to look at the vista I was accustomed to through a dirty gray/brown layer of fog.
I mentioned the terrible air to my grandmother and she relayed the following:
She had moved to the Avenues in SLC from a rural area where she grew up, in the early 1920’s, to live and work at the nursing school at the LDS Hospital on Ninth Avenue and C Street. At that time, Ninth Avenue was essentially the highest developed point in the valley, and as such, and since there were very few trees old and large enough to disrupt the view, you could see then entire valley clearly during most of the year.
During the winter however, nearly every day, the black smoke from coal furnaces, which was the predominant heating source, would fill the air in the lower valley, up to about Sixth Avenue to the point that you literally could not see a thing below it. She described looking out at the mountains, upper planes to the east, southeast, and southwest, and seeing a lot of open space with occasion orchards and farms, but the entire downtown area and developed housing areas of Salt Lake were completely obscured by a thick black cloud.
She married my grandfather in 1924, and they purchased a home on Ninth Avenue. The black smoke in the valley continued every winter until sometime in the 40’s when they, (and much of the rest of the valley) converted their coal burning furnaces to be gas fired. After that, she said, the valley was much clearer, but still had a gray haze most days in the winter.