"The Schuylkill’s bad reputation inspired the story,” says author Chari Towne about her book A River Again: The Story of the Schuylkill River Project. “The Schuylkill has come a long way since it was considered the dirtiest river in the country. I’ve long believed that the effort to clean up the Schuylkill deserves greater recognition, but giving that recognition requires that we also look at the factors that allowed the river to become so polluted.” A Schuylkill Watershed Specialist with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Towne tells the story of how, by the middle of the last century, the Schuylkill River had gone from a river of “uncommon purity” to one of this country’s dirtiest, and the effort from 1947 to 1951 to reclaim it and save it.
“The Schuylkill’s story is important because its cleanup came before all others, [and] for the lessons its redemption offers for how we interact with our rivers today,” says Delaware Riverkeeper Maya K. van Rossum.
Originally published in hardback, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network is also making the book available as a free, downloadable pdf. Go todelawareriverkeeper.org, then Resources/Free Publications for the free download, or The River Shop/Books to purchase the hardback.
A River Again was made possible in part by funding from the William Penn Foundation and the Jerlyn Foundation, as well as a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Story by Jon McGoran