THIS BORROWED EARTH

Times Beach, Missouri, 1982


Route 66, a highway that ran from Chicago to Santa Monica, California, has always been part pavement, part myth. At its birth in the 1920s, the road stretched 2,448 miles (about 4,000 km) across eight states, from the conservative farmlands of the Midwest to the glamorous West Coast. The route was designed to connect the main streets of small and large towns along the way, providing access to markets for farm products and a means for Americans to explore the country with their newly acquired automobiles. It also provided an escape to California when land dried up during the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s.


Route 66 used to go through Times Beach, Missouri but all that remains of the road is a park commemorating Rte. 66, and all that remains of the town is a huge mound in the park under which lay buried the town itself.  A small time waste hauler dumped dioxin-contaminated wastes from a chemical company over horse farms and dirt roads throughout Missouri, including the roads of Times Beach, Missouri.  When the dioxin-contaminated soil was finally discovered the only solution was to move everybody out of Times Beach, excavate the soil, tear down the town and bury it under a huge mound. 



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