Times Beach, Missouri, contains both the biggest environmental disaster and story that most people are not familiar with along Route 66. Yet, during the 1980’s the plight of Times Beach reached international attention.
The common practice at the time was to spread recycled machinery oil to suppress the dust along dirt roads. Unfortunately, the contractor that Times Beach hired to spread recycled oil was also spreading one of the deadliest chemicals known to man, later to be identified as dioxin.
Join Anthony Arno as he talks with the final mayor of Times Beach, Marilyn Leistner. At the age of 80 years old, Marilyn tells the unbelievable story of what it was like to completely purge an entire comuunity of 2000 residents, 800 homes, every automobile, and even the water tower. Today, Times Beach no longer exists, as every item that was once part of this community has been buried into a specially created landfill and is now known as Route 66 State Park in Missouri.
- Origin of Times Beach as a vacation community
- Marilyn’s earliest memories of Times Beach
- Practice of spreading recycled machinery oil to suppress the dust
- Hiring waste hauler Russell Bliss who was ultimately responsible for spreading oil mixed with dioxin
- Why Russell Bliss was never convicted of any criminal wrongdoing
- The early signs that a deadly chemical was lurking around Times Beach
- Consequences of moving out of Times Beach and treatment of residents by surrounding communities
- Decision to bury the water tower
- Establishment of Route 66 State Park and no mention of Times Beach
- Marilyn’s last conversation with Russell Bliss
- What drives Marilyn to continue talking about Times Beach 35 years later
Mark Linder is bicycling Route 66 to honor his son, Kevin, who passed away from pediatric cancer at the age of 6. Please support Mark by donating just $10 to aid two organizations, DC Strong and CureSearch. Mark joins the show to tell about his first two days on the route, including mechanical issues that were unexpected.
Mark’s Website with daily updates: Ride 2 End Pediatric Cancer
News Coverage of Mark’s Route 66 Bike Ride: