Radium City... and the brownfields among us
The center of radium refining was once the Vanadium building on Forbes Ave. in Oakland. It was at one time the world's foremost refinery of radium. Remarkably the building was only decontaminated in 2003, roughly 80 years after the building was used for radium refining. Stranger still I can find no local news coverage of the final decontamination efforts. Strange in that it is not as if there was anything unknown about the dangers. I walk by the building every day. Few know the building's history.
Such a big deal it was that Marie Curie herself visited the building in Pittsburgh to inspect the radium refining operations there. The bottom image is a certificate for some of the radium produced in Pittsburgh for her. But in true Pittsburgh uber connectedness, this all gets stranger. The only legacy of the company that refined radium here, the Standard Chemical Company of Pittsburgh, is a plaque at Pitt's Allen hall commemorating Mme Curie's visit. The plaque was unveiled in 1969 by a young archbishop visiting from Poland named Karol Józef Wojtyła . Later Pope John Paul II. I am wondering if that was the primary reason for JPII's visit here and if it was his only visit ever to Pittsburgh.
|Marie Curie visiting Pittsburgh|