Buffalo Geological Society Member Paul Krohn has invited us to host his “Virtual Tour” articles, originally written for his personal Facebook page. Paul is from North Tonawanda, New York and uses Facebook to share his photos and insight from local places of geologic interest.

Gratwick Park on the Niagara River before I have to go to work today. Beautiful day. Back in High School everyone used to go here to hang out. You would drive along the pavement and wonder why it had dips about a foot or two deep every few feet or so. In some places this went on for quite a few yards. Come to find out these undulating dips were caused by the pavement settling between barrels of chemicals that had been buried there years before by some local chemical producing factories. This practice was quite common in that era and in this area. And people who were either unaware of this or just didn’t think too much about it used to frequent the place. Years later the location was turned into an environmental super- fund site, fenced off to the public and made inaccessible while the D.E.C. or E.P.A. did their work. I remember all this- it went on for a few years. What they ended up doing in essence was to cover the whole site with impermeable clay, spread topsoil over it, and plant grass and a few trees. They were never able to remove the barrels because of how much they had deteriorated. All of the extremely toxic chemicals that were in them had long since dissipated into the surrounding soil or leached into the Niagara River with the ground water. It’s a very tragic story. Back in the late 19th century this site used to be part of one of the largest lumber ports in the world. I’m impressed with that part of the park’s history. Not so much with the other part.

Originally posted on June 26th, 2020

Archived Virtual Tour articles will be posted every Sunday and Wednesday until we catch up to the most recent date.