hi and welcome to my channel thanks for tuning in today I'm gonna take you on a nice little tour of the town of Picher Oklahoma pitcher is a former town in Ottawa County Oklahoma it is located in the northeast corner of Oklahoma on Quapaw Indian land it is also home to the tar Creek Superfund site along with its sister cities of Treece Kansas and Carden Oklahoma the town and whole area are now one of the most polluted areas in the United States lead and zinc ore was discovered in the area in 1913 the area became the world's largest producer of lead in sync and employed over 11,000 men in over 250 mills 1926 was the highest year of production at one time pitcher had a population over 14,000 people the town an area produced over 20 billion dollars worth of ore from 1917 to 1947 pitchers supplied lead for half the bullets fired by the US in World War one at that time pitcher and the tri-state mining district supplied 45% of the lead and 50% of the zinc used in the United States primary mining in the area ceased in 1967 the legacy of this mining is over 14,000 abandoned mine shafts 75 million tons of chat piles over 150 feet tall 36 million tons of mill sand acid mine water sinkholes lead poisoning in an area considered too toxic to be habitable the photos that have been playing were found on Google with an easy search for Picher Oklahoma images unfortunately the majority of all these buildings no longer exist the town of pitcher truly is a giant wasteland of nothing at this point in time and as you will see in the video that's playing there isn't much left so I wouldn't suggest going to pitch her to take all those fancy photos and everything like that that you just saw because unfortunately a lot of that stuff doesn't exist anymore and also when I was there the Quapaw police did you know seemed to drive by eighty five six seven times while I was there there's only really people working and trying to clean up the town and that's it so sit back relax and enjoy and I'll tell you a little bit more about pitcher as we drive around now as you drive around Picher Oklahoma one of the main features of the former town that you'll notice very quickly are the giant chat piles chat piles are the mine tailings from the underground mines located beneath and around the former town and one of the crazy things is is when you are driving around in Picher Oklahoma you are indeed driving on top of all those mines the mines are located directly beneath the city how these houses have been people have done in these houses a lot of times so there's really no need to even go in them and as you can see to that it says keep out in giant letters these former houses here that have giant keep out they've been stripped down to nothing in other videos that people have posted you you can see them walking around inside and they're showing the houses and as a kid or as a younger adult when I would go through pitcher we know he stop and go through the buildings now if you look right there to the left you'll notice there's a newer building and it has some cars outside of it that is actually the Quapaw Nation Indian tribe and they built a building there and that was also the Quapaw nations police department I believe and those were aware of the police work and as I drove around the town they left there and they drove by me multiple times probably just to see what the heck I was doing because they are very strict on people entering the fists on entering the old abandoned buildings that are located in this town the ones that remain that is I wouldn't suggest going into them because as stated pitcher is toxic and all those chat piles are lead toxic so all that stuff is inside all those buildings and also with all the empty mine shafts collapses sinkholes you know bugs I mean there's giant red wasps and snakes and fun things like that you really don't want to be wandering around inside the buildings and I'm sure the Indian tribe don't want a bunch of youtubers and photo hounds just wandering around inside this stuff on September 8th 1983 pitcher in Carden Oklahoma along with Therese Kansas became the tar Creek Superfund site this designation occurred because of the risks of cave-ins groundwater contamination toxic chat piles and uncovered mine shafts now even though technically the town is abandoned or people were forced to move from the pincher Cardiff Treece area there's actually a lot of workers still here this is a Superfund site and they're processing the chat piles which is and forever and ongoing thing they've torn down most the houses and most of the buildings but some people do still live here here's some views of the chap Isles there's someone's house and another one I believe that's the school or it was the school in their football field so we're gonna go over there now the majority of the pollution occurred from the early 1900's to the 1960s lead and zinc mining companies left the polluted chat piles which has caused the pollution to seep into the groundwater ponds and lakes of the area the EPA has declared the tar Creek Superfund site to be one of the current most toxic areas in the United States the entire area encompasses 1188 square miles now as we head down this road the former school is here on the left-hand side the white building here is the basketball gymnasium the football field and track field is located behind it and as you see it's also home to where a large amount of the workers that are currently working in Picher are this old building here on the left is really cool it's super old um but there was a lot of people working so I wasn't really able to like pull in as you can see the whole area is fenced off there's some trailers and stuff but there was a large amount of workers and the reason one of the reasons was other than the just constant work that's going on in the town to clean it up was that they had their homecoming coming up which is an annual thing where every December all the old residents get together and they celebrate the town so this is the old school gymnasium and everything so other than the Superfund site designation the town still survived that is until 1996 when a study of local children found that 34 percent suffered from lead poisoning after the study had come out the EPA in state of Oklahoma agreed to a mandatory evacuation of the town now there used to be houses all on the left and all on the right here and we're just gonna drive back down to the main road which is highway 69 and as we're driving you'll see the cops here they come there on the left-hand side and they're just cruising by again and like I said they passed me and drove by a lot of times I also had a lot of workers that kind of slowed down and gave me a look and granted I'm a fat guy carrying a camera covered in tattoos I'm not exactly what they regularly see in this town and people tend to be very suspicious they want to make sure you're not there messing around or getting in trouble or doing anything so this is the former ball field and as you can see it's just all cleared it's all just grass the big nice pretty chat piles out in the background and this is the parking lot for it there was a cool little like old I think they were restrooms or something and they're kind of back there and I could have walked to him and stuff but with the cops they drove by again at some point when I was out of the car and I didn't want to go walking across the field to go check out the old restrooms and same with this building that's up here on the right-hand side it's like an old Depot of some kind I know I've been in it before there's nothing in it except for graffiti but it's right by the road and again I didn't want to get in trouble so I just was behaving and I was just driving around and I was just taking photos and shooting video and I spent quite a bit of time it was a really nice day so I spent quite a bit of time here in Picher as of the year 2000 pitcher still had 1640 residents by 2005 the state of Oklahoma had restored a whopping 329 acres of contaminated land and approved a buyout of 52 total residents that's 22 years after Superfund site designation and that's all they had really done now the true death of the town occurred on May 10th of 2008 on that day pitcher was hit by an ef-4 tornado the tornado with winds up to a hundred and seventy five miles an hour destroyed 114 homes 20 blocks killed 8 residents and injured an additional 150 residents and that's really what a lot of this area that you see that is currently burned out right here on the right hand side this was the part of the town where the 20 blocks and all the homes were that were completely leveled I happened to be going home and as usual I Drive through pitcher because the road I take to go back to where my family lives I have to drive through pitcher to get there and I happen to actually show up in town two days after the tornado and the destruction was amazing I mean nothing was left everything was destroyed one part of town looked fine and the other part was completely leveled and it was really crazy now this park I really wanted to go into it but it actually had a bunch of signs saying not to go into it because it's contaminated the famous gorilla statue still stands they keep it very pretty and they keep it painted and nice and as they proudly say they were the one eighth state football champions and this park right here it's like remembrance park or something like that it's called and I think they do some activities with their Christmas homecoming that car that was sitting down there at the end of the block it just sat there the whole time and at some point they started kind of driving up and there one of the local individuals I don't know if they were just seeing what I was doing these uh this building here on the left is basically like one of the main community buildings and I believe that's where the fire department and the stuff is this building right here is crazy because it still has the tile on the floor in the year 2009 the town voted to dissolve the pitcher card in school district its remaining 49 students which is surprising considering how long before that let contamination and the mandatory evacuation had been they still had 49 students the 49 students were sent to the Quapaw Area School District which isn't far away and the town was then officially dis incorporated so by the time 2010 rolled around the town had officially only 20 residents in 2011 a large amount of the buildings were demolished and that's why you really only see foundations and you don't see the old downtown area and stuff like that there was a local church that was very famous in photos that used to be featured in a lot of pictures and videos and same with the mining museum both of those fell to arson at some point after 2011 currently the area is managed again by the Quapaw nation cleanup is still ongoing 36 years after Superfund designation the chat piles are still there the final commercial business the old miners pharmacy closed after its pharmacist Garry Linderman passed away the school is located in the middle of a toxic waste dump the water is still polluted all you will find is chat piles surrounded by barbed wire with government no trespassing signs so as you can see pitcher really is in a ghost town it's more just an abandoned area nowadays where a town used to be they're still workers there a lot of work is still going on they take the chat and they mix it with asphalt and they do that after the chats been cleaned too somehow and that's really one of the only processes or ways they can do it the mines are still flooded with water and red water still leeches out and you know the place is still a giant mess to say the least like the town is never coming back picture Oklahoma is never going to as exist again there's no reason for a town to build back there's no reason for the town to be there and apparently it's safe enough to drive around in because like I said I live nearby or my family lives nearby and I have to drive through pitcher and I've driven through pitcher for the last 20 years and I go through anywhere from two to five times a year and originally long ago I used to stop in pitcher I used to get a beer at the little bar I'd get a hamburger I'd stop at the service station a lot and get snacks they had good fried goods and you know I'd get a soda or something like that and then after that tornado hit the the downfall went very very quick and then you know at one point in time I remember dan bell and some other people shot videos of Picher showing its abandoned it was like oh man I've been place is awesome I love pitcher and so I was curious and I remember stopping the next time and nothing was there and that was because you know the church had burned down and the mining museum had burned down and they'd knocked down Main Street and they'd knocked down everything else and so it's good to see that there's still some stuff there to remind me of what it used to be but it's all it is now is just an area that's very very polluted so as you can see there's really no reason to visit pitcher Oklahoma that's all it is now is the biggest environmental disaster that you've never heard of all I want to say is thanks for watching this video please like and subscribe my next video is gonna be on Carden which is the next town over it's gonna be a quick one just like the trees one was and here's some photos of the Christmas holiday that was coming up in Picher Oklahoma and again thanks for watching this video
A video detailing some of the past and showing the current state of Americas most polluted and toxic ghost town, Picher Oklahoma. I shot this video at the end of November 2018. Some images used are from a google image search of Picher Oklahoma and the music is from the free YouTube music library. Driving footage was shot with my YI dash camera and handheld footage was shot with my Panasonic camera.
A good documentary to watch concerning Picher Oklahoma is called The Creek Runs Red.