In the 60's I delivered papers for the old Mirror News in Upland and to two houses way out in Cucamonga....For a kid on a bike that was a long to travel just to deliver papers.
Anyway during the summer time my eyes burned and my chest hurt by the time I got home sometimes I was wheezing like I was a smoker....And back then, we averaged 40 to 50 days that were considered smog days or smog alerts....Curious, we have not had a smog alert since the early 90's....I guess all the fuel additives and changes in gas really have improved the air around here....I mean back then, you didn't even know the mountains existed, you never saw them.
Fortunalley the Santa Ana winds would push the smog back into LA and sometimes clear out to sea....I remember one time when the smog got pushed up into the Chino Hills....It was so thick and brown that people were calling in to the Fire Depts. to tell them of giant fires burning south of Pomona.
Another time it was so smoggy that I had my eyes closed because they burning so bad, that I ran into a parked car and bent the front wheel frame....Boy was that dumb.
Smog was first seen by White Men when Jeddah Smith crossed the desert and camped at the top of the Cajon Pass....One of the things they noticed was a brown haze hanging low over the valleys below them.....They thought there was a giant fire some where and in a since they were right....The Indians who lived in the valleys and on the Missions, burned all of the waste from the crops and animals, and certain crops like rice and sugar cane was burned as part of its growing cycle....We still burn rice but not the same way they did....They added manure and oil to make it burn.
It has been suggested that the only reason that San Francisco Bay was ever discovered was because of the smoke bowing out over the hills towards Angels Point....From 10 miles at sea the entrance to the bay is invisible, so for over two hundred years, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish Ships never knew of the bay.
Needless to say, smog has been around since man first settled the IE....It wasn't until the invention of the automobile and the building of the freeway system, was it realized that we had a problem.
The air is nice and clear around for the most part and I prefer we keep it that way.
Gary Hall, the ghostpainter