Treece, Kansas was a heavy supplier of lead and zinc ore during World War I & II. After the 1950’s, ore production declined rapidly turning the once booming mining town into an environmental wasteland and now a ghost town. The Recollective went to Treece in 2009 when Congress passed a bill authorizing funding for a voluntary buyout by the Environmental Protection Agency. We interviewed members of the dwindling community as they struggled with the choice to take the money and leave or continue their lives in the only home they’d ever known. By 2012 nearly all the residents of Treece had left and the streets were turning back into grasslands. That summer we returned to Kansas to follow up with the community.
“Treece Kansas: Ghost Town in the Making” debuted on Kansas Public Radio’s KPR Presents on May 19, 2013. The piece also aired on Kansas City Public Radio’s (KCUR) KC Currents, and featured in exhibits at the Kansas State Historical Society and the Baxter Springs Heritage Center & Museum. You can learn more about Treece, Kansas and the making if this documentary on The Recollective Blog.
This project was made possible by a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council and many generous donations.