February-May 2014: Off-Limits St. Louis
Cementland is located in the City of Riverview about 9 miles north of downtown. Originally a cement factory built in the 1970’s, the property was purchased by Bob Cassily the developer of the City Museum in 2000. For 11 years, Cassily worked to transform the factory into an outdoor industrial playground. Unfortunately, in 2011, Cassily died in a bulldozer accident on the site, bringing the construction to a grinding halt. Because Cassily was the only person to have the grand vision of Cementland, the project was abandoned.
On my first trip to Cementland, my friend Andrew and I made this GoPro video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1iVnXVD-l0
The site is technically off limits to the public, but with a little local knowledge, it is fairly easy to sneak into the site (note: do not park illegally on the grass because that will tip off the police of your presence). I like to think that Cassily would want people to explore the site. Because Cementland is unfinished and abandoned, many of the features are quite unsafe and extra care must be taken when climbing any staircase or bridge.
The main focus of the 50-acre site is the 250 ft smokestack, which is climbable. Cassily built a lake around the smokestack. In an interview in 2000, he envisioned building a spiral staircase to the top of the smokestack. Guests would be able to throw items off the top into the lake.
There are also large factory buildings that housed the cement mixing tanks. The interiors of the buildings are haunting.
Evidence of the construction is everywhere. In the middle of the site, Cassily built towers and bridges that would have certainly become an industrial walk-through castle.
Here is a room in one of the back buildings that housed all the roof tiles that Cassily was going to install.
The back of the site has a very large room, although I am unsure of what it is for.
Another cool part of Cementland is the graffiti.
Cementland is an amazing place. If you’re an urban explorer, like abandoned places, or like the City Museum, this is certainly the place to go.
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