Big Trouble in Little Baltimore

Decent Essays

The past one hundred and fifty years of Baltimore’s history have included many turbulent fluctuations in the way the city manages to thrive during the vast changes in how consumer-related products are manufactured. One of the most important ingredients to the city’s prosperity is in a mineral called chromite. Chromite is typically found in acidic soil along with serpentinite rock, a dark-green brittle rock in the soapstone family. During the late nineteenth century, chromite suddenly became a hot commodity as it was discovered in abundance on what is now a federally protected reserve called Soldier’s Delight, located just northwest of Baltimore City. At that time, the land was ripe for mining and chromite was found to be very versatile in the manufacturing of many items that were, at that time, unavailable like yellow and red paint, tanned leather, bricks for firing kilns, and, the most valuable use of all, chrome. The mining operation at Soldier’s Delight suddenly went full throttle during the early part of the twentieth century and Baltimore was seated in the perfect location for transporting these new products to places all over the world due to its connection to the Chesapeake Bay. However, the processing plant that received the mined chromite was not conscientious enough with the oxidized discharge from the chromite and allowed it to seep into the soil beneath the plant and enter into the groundwater. The effects were not known at the time, but the plant was doing the

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