Archives for: September 2006, 05

09/05/06

Permalink 07:58:40 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 769 words   English (US)

St. Louis Army Ammunition Plant

A few weekends ago Chris, Hunter, Wolffy and I met up for some relaxing weekend exploring. We began north of the Landing inspecting the many empty warehouses there, finally realizing that most of them are pretty darn secure. We did, however, find a building that appeared to be empty that had a doorbell at one of the entrances. When I pushed it, we all stopped dead in our tracks as the sound of a siren echoed within. For a minute I thought that the owner of the building had set a trap for curious explorers like us. After ringing the bell again, though, it was apparent that the sound it made was in fact a siren. How cool is that?

After a little discussion, we decided to head a few miles down the highway to a gigantic abandoned munitions plant, somewhere I had wanted to explore for an extremely long time but had never had the courage to actually explore....and for good reason. If you live in St. Louis and use the interstate highway system at all, you are familliar with the munitions plant. It is RIGHT off the highway and getting to it requires walking through a very spacious and very in-the-open empty field. I finally convinced myself that motorists on the highway were more interested in keeping their cars on the road than on what was going on at the abandoned plant, and we headed out.

The St. Louis Army Ammunition Plant was built in the 1940s and used extensively for the production of ammunition during World War II. It was later reactivated and used during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The site continued to be used by different Army Reserve units (mainly the other newer buildings on the site, not the large plant building) until it was finally closed down in 1998. I have heard that the site is still owned by the military and that there are plans to raze it in the future, but I don't know anything more specific than that. One of the guys who accompanied me on that day was driving by a few days later and said he saw a number of guys with hard hats onsite walking around. Perhaps we visited just in time. This seems to usually be the case for me: I visit a place, and then two weeks later someone begins a renovation project.

The guys and I found an easy entrance point into the property after very little searching. Right away I was a little nervous because the cars on the highway were RIGHT THERE, but we had come this far, and I was "sure it's fine." The main building was massive. There was nothing in the way of old machinery inside. I'm sure that the government gutted the building fairly well when they abandoned the site. The catwalks were still intact, however, and after very little time I was ascending a ladder to the very top of the structure. From this vantage, one is given an amazing panoramic view of how huge the munitions plant really is. Sadly, none of my comrades had balls enough to join me on the highest catwalks. How I longed for White Rabbit's company.

After spending a good hour at the main building, we made out way to the newer long buildings at the other end of the property. Here we found buildings that seemed as though they had not been abandoned for too long, but that were completely ripped to shreds. It appeared as if a group of people spent a lot of free time making sure to bust up every ceiling tile, every toilet. We also found a number of used condoms. I find it interesting that someone would ever take a girl to a place like that and think, "Wow, this disgusting abandoned building is really turning me on!" But I am proud that they remembered to wrap it up. I just hope the laid a blanket down so the didn't get fiberglass insulation rash all over their butts. It was in the newer buildings that we found one of the more interesting and unexpected parts of the site: the massive underground areas. In the basement of one of theses buildings, we found a utility tunnel that led to an unending labyrinth of pillars and rooms. It was apparent that these area stretched all the way underneath the active buildings adjacent to the plant. These areas will require future explorations, I think, because we just didn't have the time on this day. As long as work doesn't begin in the near future, I'm sure I'll return.

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