A Pile of Nuclear Waste Is Now a Tourist Attraction In Weldon Spring, Missouri

In St. Charles County, Missouri, near Weldon Spring, lies an enormous mound of rocks. Underneath it lies tons of hazardous waste produced by a chemical plant that once stood in its place. Today, Weldon Spring draws thousands of curious visitors each year. They climb to the top of the 75-foot-tall dome to read the placards that tell the story of the sad history of communities that disappeared in 1940 to make way for the world’s largest explosives factory. Between 1940 and 1941, the US Army purchased over 17,000 acres of land in St. Charles County, and on that land happened to sit three towns: Hamburg, Howell and Toonerville. They were immediately evacuated, while hundreds of homes, businesses, churches and schools were either demolished or burned. Within a few months, the three towns ceased to exist, with the Weldon Spring Ordinance Works taking their place. By the time the plant ceased production in 1945, it had produced more than 700 million pounds of TNT. These pieces of property are today the Busch Memorial Conservation Area and the Weldon Spring Conservation Area.