The Cuyahoga River is located in northeastern Ohio running through the major cities of Cleveland and Akron. The river is 100 miles long and empties into Lake Erie. It was said to be formed by the advancement and retreat of ice sheets during the ice age. The final retreat caused the river to flow north ward which had flowed southward before. (Michael)
In more recent times, the Cuyahoga River was known as “the river that caught fire.” This is because the river was polluted from industrial companies spilling their waste into the river during the late 1880’s all the way up to the mid 1900’s. The river had a top layer of oil coating it which got thicker as years went by. People who worked on the river had a goal of not falling overboard into the river. One Cleveland mayor, Rensselaer R. Herrick, of the 1880’s even stated, “It is a sewer that runs through the heart of the city." (Michael & The)
The river was so polluted that it was like a cauldron to most. Even rats had been seen flowing down the river. Residents near Cleveland said they could feel the pollution. (Michael) Richard Ellers was a resident in Cleveland. He states, “Back in the '60s ... I went on a news excursion on the river downtown to show how bad the pollution was. I remember we could see a layer of crud on the water but didn't appreciate its thickness of the pollution on Cuyahoga River until I dipped my hand into it.” (Cuyahoga) The river was devastating to live by, but much worse to be around. It was so contaminated that it caught on fire multiple times. The fires had started ever since 1868. River fires became the most occurring incidents on the river. These occurrences quickly gave Cleveland a tarnished name and a realization for all about how unclean the river really was. (Michael & The)
As the dirty river got worse over time, so did the fires. The Cuyahoga River fire of 1969 happened in June of that year beside Campbell Road in southeastern Cleveland near the...