Wednesday

Miasmatic and Accretions, Yuck!

Allow me to preface the ugly truth with this - miasmatic and accretions, discovered the meanings, yuckier than yuck - via Webster, miasmatic is an atmosphere believed to cause disease, and, accretions, a build up of the disease causing atmosphere. When I say yuck it's because I know the majority of miasmatic accretions were human waste.

American Civil War at Chicago's Camp Douglas, a quote within a quote: In June 1862 a U.S. Sanitary Commission agent decried the camp's “foul sinks,” “unventilated and crowded barracks,” and “soil reeking with miasmatic accretions” as “enough to drive a sanitarian to despair.” ("To Die in Chicago", Levy, 1994).

Okay, 1862. Versus the fluid and light Golden Age, 1500-ish. Perhaps these mid 1800-ers weren't aware of the possibility of peaceful beauty in a once fully pristine land of the Americas. But, now we know, it's called global communication. Why war?

What's interesting, I recently stumbled upon a 1920 Chicago Health Department document that tells us after the World's Fair, 1893, ("Devil in the White City", Larson, 2002, fiction!) in 1900, the sewage was removed from the water supply. Then in 1920, the water's purity was declared to be available to humans, in Chicago.

Near an American Great Lake? Do you know how lucky you are?

Sheila Cull
Us Lucky Culls