If we were parents, we’d would be hesitant to bring our child to an amusement park called ‘Cementland.’ Just think of all the possible ways someone could scrape themselves on the cement attractions. Cementland was the brainchild of sculptor Bob Cassilly. Tragically, Cassilly died in 2011 and the project was put on hold until further notice. Today, the cement wasteland sits literally crumbling before our eyes.
Cement factory turned dumping ground
Located just outside of St. Louis, Missouri, the 54-acre area that Cementland sits on was once a thriving cement factory. However, after the factory closed, the location became a dumping ground for dirt and other materials used by construction companies.
The original buildings from the cement factory slowly started to decay. The area was nothing more than an eyesore to the St. Louis landscape – at least until Bob Cassilly saw the area and had an idea.
Enter Bob Cassilly
Bob Cassilly was no stranger to obscure projects. In 1997, he designed and opened St. Louis’s City Museum. The exhibits in this museum primarily consist of repurposed architectural and industrial objects. The museum includes a shoelace factory, two airplanes, a fire truck, and a Ferris wheel on its roof.
Bob Cassilly saw more than just cement structures when he looked at the factory’s ruins. He saw history, art, architecture, and evolution. In a 2000 interview, Bob stated: “They talk about historic districts and stuff like that but one of the main things is, our architecture is basically copying stuff from Europe. But our industry, it’s kind of like jazz, it’s an American, original thing. Why not look at it for what it is? It’s impressive. it might be threatening, but you can’t help but be impressed by it.”
Bob Cassilly’s goal was to create an art amusement park that celebrates the history of cement production in St. Louis. He brought in a bulldozer and began to mold the dirt and debris that construction companies were still providing at Cassilly’s request.
Soon, attractions actually began to take shape at Cementland. Before long, Cassilly had created a castle out of an old factory building. He had created a courtyard that featured sculptures made out of cement, rock, and antique machinery. People began to notice that Cassilly was succeeding at his passion project, and began to get excited about the final product.
Construction is stopped after a mysterious death
Sadly, construction at Cementland came to a screeching halt when Cassilly was tragically killed at his Cementland build site. Cassilly’s body was found in one of the bulldozers at Cementland. It was initially believed that the bulldozer had rolled over while Cassilly was pushing dirt, killing him before landing upright. Cassilly was 61 when he died on September 26, 2011.
Cassilly’s widow and several other medical experts didn’t necessarily believe that Bob’s cause of death was a bulldozer accident. In 2016, physician Dr. Arthur Combs reexamined Bob Cassilly’s death scene and autopsy reports. In his final report, Dr. Arthur Combs expressed that he believes Cassilly was beaten to death. His murderers then staged a scene to make it look like he died in a bulldozer accident.
Does Cementland have a future?
The only silver lining about Bob Cassilly’s untimely death is that he was doing what he loved to do. However, after Cassilly died, all work on his vision stopped. In 2016, a warehouse fire at the cement factory caused a roof to fall in. In 2017, security was hired to keep vandals and trespassers away. However, in 2022 there is no evidence of any security anywhere at Cementland.
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Memorials honoring Bob Cassilly’s life have been held at Cementland. However, perhaps the best memorial to his illustrious life would be the completion of Cementland and the opening of the unique amusement park to the public.