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.
Monessen is a city in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 8,669 at the 2000 census. In 1940, 20,257 people lived there. In 1990 the population was 13,026. Steel-making was a prominent industry in Monessen, which was a Rust Belt borough in the “Mon Valley” of southwestern Pennsylvania that became a third-class city in 1921. It is near Charleroi and Donora, two similar places with similar histories.