The Cuyahoga River's Last Fires

A photo from the 1952 Cuyahoga River fire, which also ran alongside a Time Magazine article that was really about the 1969 fire. Bettman/Corbis/Getty Images

In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire, not for the first time, but for the last time. This event is often credited with helping pass the Clean Water Act and inspire the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Tracy's Research:

  • "Cleveland, Ohio." Ohio History Central.,_Ohio
  • “Hough,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 12, 2017,
  • Adler, Jonathan H. "EPA, the Army, and the Army Corps of Engineers." (2002). Faculty Publications. Paper 191.
  • Adler, Jonathan H. "The fable of the burning river, 45 years later." Washington Post. 6/22/2014.
  • Adler, Jonathan. Separating fact from fiction about the Cuyahoga River fire(s)." Washington Post. 6/18/2016.
  • Bhasthi, Deepa. " City of burning lakes: experts fear Bangalore will be uninhabitable by 2025." The Guardian. 3/1/2017.
  • Case Western Reserve University. "Cuyahoga River." Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.
  • EPA. "History of the Clean Water Act."
  • Grant, Julie. "How a Burning River Helped Create the Clean Water Act." Allegheny Front. 4/21/2017.
  • Great Lakes Brewing Company Burning River Pale Ale Fact Sheet.

Topics in this Podcast: fires, 20th century, racism