St. Louis, Michigan was founded in 1853, and laying in the center of the lower peninsula, now stands as a reminder of what happens when we're too careless with the dangerous chemicals we work with. The Michigan Chemical Co. plant in downtown St. Louis poisoned the ground and nearby river in the 1970's with a blend of toxic ingredients, after contaminating cattle feed with PBB, a flame retardant, killing thousands of animals. To this day, the EPA is working on fully cleaning the area, as it's still leaking chemicals and will continue to until it is cleaned up completely.

At one point, the residents were so displeased with the lack of strong effort to clean the area that they decided to move the EPA's idea of fixing the problem at the time to a new location, according to a local researcher:

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Instead of cleaning up the site, the EPA found a large blank tombstone, carved a dire warning into it, and placed it at the fenced-off property. That was in 1982. Years of effort by the town finally got the the EPA to cap the site, and when the work was completed in October 2013, St. Louis literally paraded the tombstone down Main Street to its new spot outside the town's history museum, Unfortunately.

The town itself outside of this terrible accident continues to thrive today, and dubs itself the "middle of Michigan," and has the perfect small town downtown scene which comes alive every summer. No doubt that the accident does not define who they are, but proves that a community can work through anything serious as long as they band together

Things Change: Downtown Kalamazoo 2007-2022

Taking a trip through time, around downtown Kalamazoo. Thanks to Google Street View, see how the landscape has changed in just 15 years