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Once again the Society's involvement with Heinz History Center's and Cal U's "Digital Story Telling" Honors English class for the spring semester concluded at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center with an April premiere of the mini-documentaries produced for historical societies that included Brownsville, California, Donora, Dormont, McKeesport, Mt. Lebanon and Cal U.


One of Donora's documentaries was again considered best in show and featured the story behind the "Making of Cement City." Last semester's documentary was based on a poem on the 1948 Smog written in 1950 by a young German poet named Gunter Kunert who went on to be one of the most versatile and important contemporary German writers. Both videos can be found on our website under the "1948 Smog" and the "Cement City" tabs.

On Saturday, June 7, the Donora Historical Society welcomed nearby Gallatin native and local baseball legend Ron Necciai and Donora native Ken Barbao, who shared their experiences of growing up in the Mon Valley and playing professional baseball. Necciai is best remembered for the unique feat of striking out 27 batters in a nine-inning game which he accomplished in the Class-D Appalachian League on May 13, 1952 during a no-hitter. Necciai also played for the hometown Pittsburgh Pirates in 1952 and in November of this year, will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Barbao came from a baseball family and also played in the Pirates farm system at the same time as Necciai. Autographs and pictures were had by all.

On Friday, June 13, members of the Donora Historical Society attended the Heinz History Center Affiliate Program (HCAP) meeting that was held in McKeesport at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center. This was the annual meeting where all HCAP members share tips and ideas for better maintaining their collections.

On Saturday, August 2 during the Donora fireman's street fair, an all-day open house will take place. There not be a formal presentation but the museum will be open all day with extended hours during the fair.

The next formal presentation is scheduled for Monday, September 7 at 7 p.m. on the Cincinnati Mine Disaster. Even though the Cincinnati Mine was located north of New Eagle in the village of Courtney on the Mon River, the disaster that took place there in 1913 has a unique tie to Donora - 15 of the 98 miners were Catholic by faith and were brought to the St. Dominic's Catholic Cemetery in Donora by wagon to be buried in a mass grave.

The 4th Annual Cement City Home and Walking Tour will be scheduled for Sunday, October 19th at 1 p.m. The tour will start at the museum at 1 p.m. with a photo presentation on Donora's National Historic District – Thomas Edison's Cement City and artifacts and original blueprints during the construction from 1916 and 1917. A walking tour will follow in the Historic District to point out some of the various architectural details. There is no Steelers game scheduled on this day. Space will be limited to 30 people. The proposed cost of the tour will be $10 a person. We expect attendees to visit from all over SW PA so at the end of the summer we will start accepting RSVPs. If you have any questions on the tour, please give us a call or send us an email.

The Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum is located at the intersection of 6th and McKean in the heart of Donora and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or by appointment.

If you have additional questions about the subjects mentioned above, the society, museum, meetings or possibly volunteering, feel free to stop by or email us at or by calling 724-823-0364 and leave a message. Or visit us on the web at




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