Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Once it was a Garbage Heap of Local Industry. The decrepit lot on Riverview Drive, an abandoned and run-down longtime cement factory, had become a common site for local construction workers to dump truckloads of excess dirt and rock. No one cared or attempted to reroute them because the old factory meant so little.
A cement factory has been turned into a dumping ground.
Cementland is located just outside of St. Louis, Missouri, on a 54-acre site that was once a thriving cement factory. However, after the factory closed, the site became a dumping ground for dirt and other construction materials.
The original cement factory buildings began to deteriorate over time. The area was nothing more than a blight on the St. Louis landscape until Bob Cassilly saw it and had an idea.
Bob Cassilly is introduced.
Bob Cassilly had a history of working on obscure projects. He designed and opened St. Louis’ City Museum in 1997. This museum’s exhibits are primarily made up of repurposed architectural and industrial objects. The museum’s roof is home to a shoelace factory, two airplanes, a fire truck, and a Ferris wheel.
When Bob Cassilly examined the factory’s ruins, he saw more than just cement structures. He was able to see history, art, architecture, and evolution.
“They talk about historic districts and stuff just like, but one of the main things is, our architecture is basically copying stuff from Europe,” Bob said in a 2000 interview. But our industry, like jazz, is a uniquely American creation. Why not see it for what it is? It’s quite impressive. It may be threatening, but you can’t help but admire it.”
Bob Cassilly’s vision was to create an art amusement park that celebrated St. Louis’ history of cement production. He brought in a bulldozer and started sculpting the dirt and debris that construction companies were still supplying at Cassilly’s request.
At Cementland, attractions began to take shape quickly. Cassilly quickly transformed an old factory building into a castle. He’d built a courtyard with sculptures made of cement, rock, and antique machinery. People began to notice Cassilly’s success with his passion project and became excited about the finished product.
Construction is halted following a mysterious death.
Unfortunately, construction at Cementland came to a halt when Cassilly was tragically killed at his Cementland construction site. Cassilly’s body was discovered in one of Cementland’s bulldozers. The bulldozer was thought to have rolled over while Cassilly was pushing dirt, killing him before landing upright. Cassilly died on September 26, 2011, at the age of 61.
Cassilly’s widow and several other medical experts were skeptical that Bob’s death was caused by a bulldozer accident. Dr. Arthur Combs reexamined Bob Cassilly’s death scene and autopsy reports in 2016. Dr. Arthur Combs stated in his final report that he believes Cassilly was beaten to death. His assassins then staged a scene in which he died in a bulldozer accident.
Future of Cementland
The only bright spot in Bob Cassilly’s tragic death was that he was doing what he loved. However, after Cassilly’s death, all work on his vision came to a halt. A warehouse fire at the cement factory in 2016 caused a roof to collapse. Security was hired in 2017 to keep vandals and trespassers at bay. However, there is no evidence of security anywhere at Cementland in 2022.
Bob Cassilly’s life has been honored with memorials at Cementland. However, perhaps the best memorial to his illustrious life would be the completion of Cementland and the public opening of the one-of-a-kind amusement park.
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In the heart of St. Louis, Missouri, a cement factory was built and then abandoned.
Abandoned buildings and decaying ruins aren’t uncommon in Missouri. Have you ever wondered what happened to an abandoned house when you’re driving by? Who lived there, and what happened to cause it to be abandoned and in ruins? When it comes to Cementland in Missouri, an abandoned former cement factory turned art amusement park, you won’t have those questions. Its true story is described in detail above.
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