The Examiner goes to the Dump(s)

Brownwood has seen many changes throughout history, but one change most people don’t think of is refuse. Prior to 1969, landfills were not required to be sanitary and were simply mountains of trash, often set on fire. The smell was awful, the disease vectors were high, and several once-thriving neighbourhoods never recovered from the environmental damage and lowered property values caused by the city dumps. During the 80s and into the 90s, the hills of refuse still towered over the former Camp Bowie, but they were mixed with dirt, and items available for recycling were moved. Things have improved vastly since then, with all kinds of recycling available and the town holding frequent clean-up days to responsibly dispose of unwanted items.

The Examiner will revisit the former city dumps and rate them on 3 attributes;
 
  1. Do I want to throw trash here at this very moment? Not that I would, but does the ambiance fit a town dump?
  2. Is the surrounding neighbourhood still blighted, or has it improved?
  3. Are there any signs of dumping currently? Environmental damage?

 

 Former sites will be awarded on a scale of 1 to 5 Dale Streets, 1 being the least dumpy, 5 being like Dale Street itself. All of these sites predate the city’s current sanitary landfill and recycling center south of town.
 
dalest
We meet again, Dale Street.
The Brick/Neumann Dump (1975-unknown)
 
This landfill, located behind Sunset Terrace, is on the site of a former brick factory. You can still see signs of the red clay scattered throughout the area. Some of the former landfill area is now occupied by Loadcraft Industries.

1. Do I want to throw trash here at this very moment?

Hell yeah, I’d throw garbage there. I want to throw garbage there this very second. The complete lack of upkeep and the likely polluted water of the smaller ponds on-site makes this feel like a dump should feel. I can smell the hot garbage wafting through the air as I glance towards the old Bluffvue Drive-In theater. Plus, it’s by Sunset Terrace, I might improve the property value if I throw enough trash here.
brickstbe
My, what a lovely pond you have!
2. Is the surrounding neighbourhood still blighted, or has it improved?
 

This neighbourhood feels like everyone has forsaken it, it’s post apocalyptic and eerily quiet. All area streets are in extremely poor repair and tall weeds abound. However, Loadcraft should be commended for trying to bring life back into this neighbourhood, and while we were unable to personally visit the site, it appears that the landowner(s) on the now abandoned portion of Epley St have improved the lake that formed in the old quarry and tried their best to make it a nice area.

3. Are there any signs of dumping currently? Environmental damage?

Likely groundwater pollution, as this landfill predated the ‘pit pockets’ that prevent soil leeching. As far as I know, controlled burning of refuse never took place at this location, which leads it to getting a higher environmental score. Some contamination could also be tied to the brick factory. There were few signs of dumping actively taking place, but there were exceptions.

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Dale Streets.

bricksvtire
Clearly, the RIF bus needs to come back to Brownwood to educate citizens on the importance of reading.
 
The Mamie/Burkett Dump (1958-unknown)
 
The former dump on Burkett Street gets extra credit for still looking like an active dump. I can smell the perpetually smouldering mountain of refuse that was once housed here.  This dump frequently caught on fire, and nearby Walnut street was used as an illegal dump in-tandem, with many dead animals finding their final resting place in this area, which is ironic, because visiting this site feels like you are only minutes away from being murdered yourself.
 
1. Do I want to throw trash here at this very moment?

Yes. It appears I’m not the only one. This area feels neglected, a badge of shame that the city has long tried to forget about. From the unimproved roadway to signs of refuse and scrub cedar as far as the eyes can see, this area has absolutely nothing going for it. This is more of an alleyway than it is a road.      

2. Is the surrounding neighbourhood still blighted, or has it improved?

I have doubts that this area can ever be improved. It still feels like the perfect place to throw shit you don’t want anymore. While it’s an improvement over decaying plastics and iron, it’s not much of one. In 1977, a resident stated that people were still using this area as well as adjacent roads to dump litter. The city simply closed the street where littering was taking place.

maime
Sorry, Charlie!
3. Are there any signs of dumping currently? Environmental damage?
Trash litters the roadway, and yet again, the citizens of Brownwood ignore all signs that this is no longer an active dump. The ground looks poor. The Examiner staff did not remain in this area long enough to analyze the area, and for good reason. This place is simply terrible, and in this editor’s humble opinion, worthy of abandonment.
 
Final Score: 5 out of 5 Dale Streets.
 
burkettsv
Oncemore, Brownwood residents fail to grasp the concept of the written word. Bonus points to the city for recycling an old speed limit sign, though.
The Kiwanas/Cordell Dump (1963-unknown)
 
At one point, owing to the “wisdom” of city planners, trash was once dumped in both of these city parks. The reason given was to build up the land in the area so that baseball diamonds could be created. We think racism has more to do with it, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyhow, the current baseball diamond at Cecil Holman Park was once a hole filled with trash. We have a newspaper clipping from 1963 just to prove this bizarre story true.
 
trash
 

1. Do I want to throw trash here at this very moment?

NO! It’s a baseball/soccer field where kids play, are you crazy? I worry about how thick the soil layer is over all of the broken glass and sharp metal that is bound to be below the surface to be honest.

2. Is the surrounding neighbourhood still blighted, or has it improved?

There are few signs that this area was ever a garbage dump, and the Adams Branch canal is relatively free of refuse. Much improved.

3. Are there any signs of dumping currently? Environmental damage?

None, though the aforementioned ‘filler’ of choice likely damaged the environment. I mean, really, why wasn’t fill dirt used? “The kids need a field to play in, we have a lot of garbage, let’s dig a hole and fill it in! We’ll raise the ground level to boot!” Logic like this was common during the early 1960s, and there were many other ‘short term’ dumping facilities used by the public in an effort to fill in ditches. I’m sure the residents in the wealthy part of town received fill dirt, though.

Final score: 1 out of 5 Dale Streets.

The Sewer Dump

Located around Idelwild/Norwood streets, this open air dump was originally to be a temporary location, but persisted long beyond the timeframe given to residents. While it makes sense to put one smelly item next to another, the residents cited trash, rats, flies, flat tires, and more or less forced the city to relocate to the aforementioned Brick Street location.

1. Do I want to throw trash here at this very moment?

Not really. The area is in decent upkeep for being abandoned and I applaud the residents who, in the early 70s, drove the garbage trucks out of the area. It smells terrible though. Being downwind of the sewer plant is a terrible place to be.

2. Is the surrounding neighbourhood still blighted, or has it improved?

The neighbourhood that once existed in the area is all but gone, with residents relocating due to the undesirable elements of living near the dump. City maps show 3 or 4 streets that once existed are now little more than grassy strips where the trees have yet to take root. The area has improved substantially but it’s too little, too late.

3. Are there any signs of dumping currently? Environmental damage?

Surprisingly, no. This is the one former dump where people no longer throw unwanted refuse. Probably because they have to smell the sewage plant while driving out here. Yuck.

sewerdump
Give these guys a raise, seriously.

Final score: 2 1/2 out of 5 Dale Streets.

Other dumps

We were unable to pinpoint the exact location, nor rate these dumps.

The Vine Street Dump

Located in an old gravel quarry, this dump existed only because there was a hole in the ground that needed crap thrown in it and then covered. Very little information exists about it. It’s now erroneously listed as “Vincent Street Park” on some maps, and is just a vacant, grassy lot with nary a tree to be found.

The Sharp Street Dump

Located near the old Texas Light and Power station and current Oncor station, the Sharp Street Dump doesn’t have a lot of information, nor signs of use as a dump. From what we can gather, it used to catch on fire quite a bit and force the city to re-open the then closed Burkett/Mamie dump.

satire

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