Caddo Lake NWR … Oh My!
In 1942, a young congressman, Lyndon B Johnson arranged for the US Army to build one of their new ammunition plants in Texas on the Louisiana border. Shortly, 8493 acre were purchased on Caddo Lake and the plant was built. During WWII, Monsanto Corp produced 393,000,000 pounds of TNT at this location! For fifty-five years, the plant built everything from incendiary devices to rocket motors. Thiokol Corp modernized the plant from making liquid rocket fuel to producing solid rocket fuel after the Korean War, the Cold War era. Then in 1987, the plant was used as part of a treaty as the site where the Pershing I & II missiles were destroyed. And now, it’s a National Wildlife Refuge … dang!
What you see above is what’s left of Production Area #1 for the production of TNT. We were there birding, looking for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (which we did find) when we literally stumbled upon Production Area #1. As you can see, the forest has reclaimed the area bringing an eerily yet beautiful landscape. It’s completely open to the public with signs that have photos to show you what the buildings once looked like (we only explored one of the many sites). A number of the blockhouses have their doors removed and a big wire in their place. Looking in with our lenses (I shot with the Z 6 / Z24-200) we say paychecks from Thiokol dated from 1984 amongst all the papers just lying there on the shelves.
The most amazing thing is it would seem taggers and souvenir hunters have not found the place. We weren’t there to shoot the haunting structural ghosts but took a few moments from our birding to give it all a gander. It’s a really cool place deserving more of my camera time and I will in the future cause it’s not what you expect at a place called Caddo Lake NWR!