INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SAINT CHARLES COUNTY
In Saint Charles County, Missouri, near Weldon Spring, adjacent to Highway 40, lies an enormous mound of rocks, rising out of the ground like an ancient burial tomb.
Underneath it lies tonnes 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 Saint Charles County, just outside of St Louis On those lands happened to sit three pretty towns with rolling wooded hills - Hamburg, Howell and Toonerville.
They were immediately evacuated. Hundreds of homes, businesses, churches, schools and any other buildings in the area were either demolished or burned and within a few months, the three towns ceased to exist. A massive factory was erected to manufacture TNT and DNT in order to supply Allied troops in the Word War II.
The Weldon Spring Ordnance Works, operated by Atlas Powder Company, employed more than 5,000 people and contained more than 1,000 buildings. By the time the plant ceased production on August 15, 1945, the day the Japanese surrendered, it had produced more than 700mn pounds of TNT.
After the war, the army began selling off pieces of the land. The State of Missouri acquired 7,000 acres, while the University of Missouri bought another 8,000 acres, which was later sold to the Conservation Department.
These pieces of property are today the Busch Memorial Conservation Area and the Weldon Spring Conservation Area.