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Picher Oklahoma Is Dead

RIP Picher, Oklahoma 1918 – 2011

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Image Credit:

Located in the northeast corner of Oklahoma, the town of Picher was once home to the world’s richest lead and zinc mining field. After decades of mining, towering piles of mine waste covered 25,000 acres, devastating Quapaw tribal lands and local economies. Acid mine water burned nearby Tar Creek and stained it red. An alarmingly high percentage of local children were found to have toxic levels of lead in their blood, along with high rates of cancer and other diseases among the populace.

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Image Credit:

In recent years, Picher has suffered from sinkholes that threaten to swallow the community into old mines below. Then three years ago, a tornado destroyed about 150 of the remaining homes.

The area was declared a Superfund site in 1981 and in June 2006, after studies found most churches, homes and the school were in serious danger of caving in, a federal buyout was offered to Picher residents.

And then there’s Jesse Orval “Hoppy” Ray, born June 7, 1925, in Picher. He remained stalwart in his defiance to leaving his home town. Until June 2009 when Hoppy’s son moved him out of Picher 10 miles south to Miami, Ok. There he would lie awake at night, the TV on a country-music station blaring familiar songs to try to lull himself to sleep. He remained bewildered by the whole situation until passing from this life only 6 months later on Dec. 14, 2009.

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Credit Images:

Now it’s all history, last week crews demolished a funeral home, restaurant, thrift shop, apartment building and other structures, with more to come. For historic significance, only a church, mining museum, auction house and a building where mining equipment was sold will remain standing, although abandoned.

Rest in peace Picher, Oklahoma. The sad thing is the lesson you have taught us tends to fall on the deaf ears for the ones who needs it the most – the powerful industries. Lord help us all….

…. as the green future unfolds.

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13 Responses to “Picher Oklahoma Is Dead”

  1. Theresa Says:

    That is one of the saddest most unnecessary stories I’ve heard! God Linda will we ever wake up?????!

  2. Linda Says:

    Hi Theresa ….. I don’t know, my friend, I don’t know. I would like to think so but this one gets the better of my optimism.

  3. Theresa Says:

    I have to admit after reading this and watching what I did last night on the History channel, it’s going to take a whole lot of reach down inside myself to believe in humanity.

  4. Linda Says:

    Hi Theresa … Don’t give up hope yet!

  5. Mint Hill DUI Lawyer Says:

    It is indeed a sad story. If we continue to be abusive of nature, in twenty years the world will be like Picher. But of course, nature always has its own way of getting back at us.

  6. Linda Says:

    Hi Mint Hill …. Yes, Mother Nature takes care of herself when need be. It is up to us to ensure that she does not need to enlarge any event that she has in store.

  7. Barbara Says:

    There just aren’t word to say for a tragedy like this. The only thing that comes to mind is Terrible!

  8. Linda Says:

    Hi Barbara … It is terrible and hopefully there are no other towns will go this way.

  9. DW Wood Says:

    This is a needless tragedy! Hopefully stories like this will keep it from happening to other places.

  10. iip albanjary Says:

    so terrific,
    that mining activities should be ended with reclamation

  11. Atkinson Law Offices Says:

    Very nice blog post. I definitely love this website.
    Stick with it!
    Atkinson Law Offices recently posted…Atkinson Law OfficesMy Profile

  12. Ethyl fischer Says:

    I was born in Picher, left when I was 2. Saw Forbidden Planet, made me cry, very good,c but very sad.

  13. Deanie Lear Justice Says:

    Like Ethyl Fischer,[my sister] I was born in Quapaw and we left picher in 1940.
    I am so sorry about Pichers demise. I will remember my childhood there with sorrow. Goodbye Picher, I’ll NEVER forget you. Deanie……………….

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