Monday, July 12, 2010

Hiding in the woods and thick overgrowth lie several deserted and almost completely forgotten behemoths of early-to-mid 20th century industry. I know only that these buildings were in some way originally involved in the processing of stone mined locally and were used in the construction of what was to be a massive scientific-industrial complex. I read they also had repair shops and all kinds of other factories out here, all working for a common interest. Their impressive size and the noises they once emitted earned them the collective title of "Mechanical City". Their individual, specific uses are beyond any guess I could possibly make but I am familiar with the buildings that these had been designed to help construct.

This site is closely related to two nearby and much more well-known locations. In fact, it was built to facilitate their construction, one of which is the former Weldon Springs Ordnance Works, known to locals as the "Equadome". If you lived in Saint Charles up until the late '90s, you probably at least heard of the 'dome. It was built to produce TNT and other munitions during WWII. I know of no other place that had so many rumors attributed to it; from the supposed site of Satan worship, to several rapes and a death or two, it had quite the reputation. It was a massive industrial playground and was abandoned in the 60s. Unfortunately, it was demolished in 1998. It was built to withstand ordnance explosions and as a result proved to be very difficult to finally demolish. I was fortunate to have explored it several times, but I had no camera back then.

The other site, not far from the Equadome was the Weldon Springs Uranium Processing Plant. Often, this site and the 'dome are confusedly lumped together, but they were separate sites. This Uranium Plant processed "Yellow Cake" (Uranium Ore Concentrate). The Uranium Processed here was ultimately used in nuclear weapons and nuclear fuels in support of the Manhattan Project. It shut down in 1966 and remained abandoned until it was torn down in 1994. Now, the radioactive wastes are buried beneath a mountain of rock, visible from HWY 94.

The thick woods made it difficult to even see such a massive building as this. It stands in the middle of nowhere and is slowly being overtaken by nature. The surprise of stumbling onto this building was fairly intimidating, being alone next to it in the remoteness of the woods today.

I later made a return trip to the other side of Mechanical City. Follow the link for Part II.

I also stumbled across quite a few foundations and odd structures in the woods. It seems there is actually a lot to find hiding out here in the middle of nowhere.