Today we are showcasing a project from Louisiana Tech University that has been making its rounds on the internet. It is an interesting project to propose a museum to look retrospectively at the ghost mining town of Pitcher Oklahoma, by literally building into the mining shafts that polluted the town. The project carries the viewer into the depths of the earth into this foreign space to see man and machines damage to the earth.
In the 1900’s, Picher Oklahoma was a thriving lead and zinc mining town with a peak population of nearly 20,000. The inevitable nature that mining imposes upon the landscape has left mountainous piles of toxic waste, vast underground voids and the imminent threat of subsidence.
With evidence that mining jeopardized the towns’ safety, in 1981 the EPA designated Picher as a superfund site and in 2005 the state of Oklahoma began offering buyouts for residents to relocate.
What once was a prosperous mining town has since been erased. This research posits that architecture can serve as a didactic tool: at once for understanding the memories of a place and as a reminder that the extraction of the earth’s resources carries with it repercussions that can be detrimental.
All Text and Images via Brandon Mosley