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Fresno, California: Historic Sanitary Landfill

Don't laugh. The original Fresno Sanitary Landfill is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fresno Regional Sports Complex

1707 W. Jensen Ave., Fresno, CA
S West and Jensen Avenues, a few miles west of CA SR 99.
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Historic Sanitary Landfill

For a long time, people from other parts of California have called Fresno a dump. Now, the National Register of Historic Places has confirmed it.

The original Fresno Sanitary Landfill (NRHP #01001050) at Jensen and West Avenues is Fresno's mark on civic history, being the birthplace of modern community waste disposal in the United States. It seems no one had ever thought of burying garbage in a "safe" way until the city fathers of Fresno put their heads to the problem.

Of course, "safe" is a relative term since the Landfill is now an EPA Superfund site, loaded with heavy metals, toxic distillates, and other reminders of our industrialized past. After a pricey cleanup operation, the EPA felt the site was "safe" enough to build a regional youth sports complex on the property -- right next to the large mound built to contain all of the mid-century chemical wonders. Local wags have named the facility "Cancer Field;" its official name is considerably less colorful. While there is not much to see (the photo is of the mound constructed to ensure the "containment"of the toxic wastes), it is still worth a visit mainly for the dark humor of it. Truth be told, there is little else to see in Fresno.

[Blake H. Lindsey, 05/11/2005]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Storyland and PlaylandStoryland and Playland, Fresno, CA - 3 mi.
Renoir Washer Woman SculptureRenoir Washer Woman Sculpture, Fresno, CA - 3 mi.
16-Foot-Tall Unwanted JFK16-Foot-Tall Unwanted JFK, Fresno, CA - 3 mi.
In the region:
1880 Mussel Slough Tragedy, Hanford, CA - 23 mi.

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