Buffalo October 10, 2018
The Toxic Ghost Town Near Buffalo That You’ll Want To Stay Far Away From
Depending on how long you’ve been a reader with us here at Only In Your State, you may remember that in the past we’ve frequently spoken on the subject of how Buffalo is one of New York’s
most haunted cities. From the stories surrounding Shea’s and Central Terminal to the tales told about the Iron Island Museum, it’s hard to deny the fact that many of us seem to be convinced we’re sharing the Queen City with quite a few spirits.
However, if you head just north of Buffalo, you’ll find an abandoned ghost town that doesn’t have ghost stories swirling around it, only terrifying truths. This is a story that many of us grew up watching unfold right before our eyes, but if you aren’t familiar with it, read on to find out why you’ll want to stay as far away as possible from the neighborhood of Love Canal.
Just north of Grand Island and 15 minutes east of Niagara Falls State Park, the small neighborhood of Love Canal used to be a darling place to reside in Western New York.
In the early 1900s, people began moving into the neighborhood of Love Canal - the town once featured an actual canal that was enjoyed by swimmers and ice skaters. All was well with the charming little neighborhood... until the canal became a local dump site. Unbeknownst to many living in Love Canal, right beneath their homes were metal drums of discarded pesticides and other toxic waste.
During the 1970s more and more residents began to complain of offputting smells and black liquid coming out of the ground in their yards, but it wouldn't be until the great
snowstorm of 1977 that things would truly go awry.
For years, many of those who were living in the Love Canal neighborhood began to complain about these troubles like awful smells in the town near the playground and seeing unsightly colored liquids coming out of the ground, but 1977 would become the ultimate shining light on this creeping disaster. The unforgettable and deadly snowstorm of 1977 brought on more snow than residents could have imagined and managed to raise the water table a considerable amount. Between the mass amount of snow melting and the spring rains that year, 20,000 tons of toxic waste began seeping upwards from the ground and into the yards and streets of Love Canal as the metal drums rusted open.
Before we knew it, the Love Canal disaster gained national attention and became known as the country's first case regarding the dumping of toxic waste materials.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter and Governor Hugh L. Carey declared a state of emergency for the neighborhood of Love Canal after it was made clear just how bad the situation had become. Not only was the town emanating a terrible smell and seeping strange liquids out through the ground, residents were beginning to claim that they were developing major health issues as a result of living on top of all this toxic waste. In 1978, hundreds of families living in Love Canal were forced to evacuate and leave behind their homes.
Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent researching and cleaning up Love Canal after 1978, turning the neighborhood into America's first toxic ghost town.
This head-turning disaster was far from cheap; hundreds of millions of dollars had to be spent moving Love Canal residents out of the neighborhood, paying them for their homes, researching their health issues, surveying the groundwater, and cleaning up the mess. In total, it took 21 years and $400 million to restore Love Canal
just enough to officially have it removed from the Superfund list, which didn't end until 2004.
With roughly 1,000 families evacuating the area, almost all of them began to share their stories of scary health issues.
Over the years, you've most likely heard the stories about all that the Love Canal families have suffered through, with many claiming to have Leukemia, respiratory problems, liver damage, and even forms of cancer that developed as a result of living in close proximity to the toxic materials. It was also reported that women in Love Canal experienced miscarriages at three times the normal rate, and many of their children were born with a higher percentage of birth defects.
Today, many of the streets in Love Canal no longer exist, with most of the toxic town being overrun by nature and closed off by chain-linked fences.
Some people remain curious about what Love Canal looks like, but this is one ghost town you'll want to stay far away from! There are a few people still living in the area who claim that they continue to experience the negative side effects from living near Love Canal.
Were you living in Buffalo during the late 1970s when the evacuations of Love Canal happened? Share your memories with us in the comments.
For more nerve-wrecking reads, take a look at how
A Trip To This Haunted Asylum Near Buffalo Is Not For The Faint Of Heart!