Guest View: I grew up among the world’s most polluted area – Niagara Falls

Guest View: By a Longtime Falls’ Resident

I’m sending along a picture of the environment I grew up in starting in 1951. I was five years old. The back of the house faced the factories and Buffalo Avenue

My family lived on A Street near the chemical factories. The reason for being there was my dad was a lifelong employee of Niagara Alkali, which was purchased by Hooker Chemical, then Occidental Chemical. He worked at the same site since he was 14 yrs. old. with a four year break fighting the Nazis in WW2. For dad it was only a 15 minute walk to his place of employment from A street.



The corner of Hyde Park and Buffalo Avenue, the south side, was the burial site of some of the deadliest chemicals that DuPont could produce. I especially remember the self-igniting phosphorous fires. The area at the time was a large flooded swamp. Sometime in the late fifties DuPont used tons and tons of fill to hide the chemical dump and laid a very thick layer of asphalt over the area and to completely hide the dump the company built a warehouse, making it look like an innocent parking lot/warehouse.

This area is represented in the photo as area  ”A’. I may be the last of the inhabitants around who still can tell the ugly story.

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Now on to the most ugly and gruesome section of factory row, area ”B” on the Google map. This area was owned by the DuPont chemical company. DuPont in the early 1970s built a very large and innocent looking RESEARCH AND DEVELOPEMENT CENTER.

I remember the Niagara Falls Fire Department being dispatched th  ere at least twice a month. The area was heavily guarded 24 hours a day. This is where things get very interesting. DuPont started buying up all the houses in Echota. If you travel in the area you can see all the missing homes which were torn down, as the company eventually created a buffer zone between the R&D building and the inhabitants of A and B streets. so you can plainly see it could have been R & D for the U.S. government. The building was eventually demolished, removing any trace of its existence. As I remember reading in the Niagara Gazette, DuPont moved the entire facility to the Caribbean Islands. Now there is nothing left at the site, NOTHING!

But it is well camouflaged. and looks innocent to the eye.

Letter C is where the old ARMY barracks used to stand during WW2. But only God knows what is in that building. I moved away long before it was built. It could be said Buffalo Ave. and Hyde park is the deadliest and most well-hidden part of Niagara falls. Maybe that’s why that offshoot of DuPont is beating it out of town.



Niagara Falls was one giant, dangerous, chemical, nuclear factory haven.


  1. John Hazel says:

    Maybe DuPont and other factories produced dangerous chemicals, but these companies were the backbone of Niagara Falls employing thousands of people in good paying jobs. The loss of industry and the subsequent loss of population has ruined a once vibrant city.

  2. Vibrant death zones? Good paying jobs led to horrid cancerous deaths…legacy that continues today, Once an Indian Paradise, turned into a toxic cesspool, Via Con Dios! Sincerely

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