L.A.'s Smoggy Past, in Photos

L.A. as Subject's latest contribution to KCET's SoCal Focus blog features over a dozen archival photographs and documents related to Southern California's smoggy past:

Char Miller recently wrote of Southern California's historical struggle with smog. On some days, the air was so polluted that "parents kept their kids out of school; athletes trained indoors; citrus growers and sugar-beet producers watched in dismay as their crops withered; the elderly and young crowded into doctors' offices and hospital ERs with throbbing heads and shortness of breath."

Although a pristine view of the Hollywood sign may still elude Angelenos on most days, air pollution rarely cripples the city in present times as it did in the mid-twentieth century. Severe smog has largely abated, Miller argues, thanks to citizen activism, scientific advances, and landmark environmental legislation that allowed the EPA to regulate air pollutants.

That leaves many Southern Californians with only hazy memories of severe smog. The following images, from the photographic archives of the region's libraries, cultural institutions, and government agencies, show the extent of L.A.'s air pollution and provide a glimpse of how Southern California responded.

Keep reading the full post on the KCET website.