Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Noise Pollution

I copied out this article as a comment on the times. We tend to think of the railroad as bringing growth to communities, but it also brought noise and soot and accidents. The complaint in the article resonates with me because I live a few miles south along the very same railroad line, and the passing trains can shake me right through my mattress at night.

Boston Daily Globe July 23, 1874

The American Devil.

A long time ago, some English newspaper christened the steam whistle "The American Devil," and the epithet is by no means misapplied. Of all the inventions of Yankee ingenuity it is the most demoniac, and the efforts which are now being made to exorcise this fiend from the locomotive ought to be aided by the prayers of all sensitive and nervous people. It has been testified to before the Railroad Commissioners that there are people who still survive at a place in Jamaica Plain where the screech of this instrument of torture is heard more than 300 times every day. It makes some portions of the beautiful suburbs of Boston the abode of misery by its horrible notes, shaking the state of man, especially if he happens to be ill, with pangs scarcely less than would be engendered by the trump of doom.

[article continues - no JP content]

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