Treece, KS: Ghost Town in the Making

While I was on the road with StoryCorps, one of my favorite things to do at each stop was sit at a local diner with a cup of coffee and the paper. On one of my stops in Wichita, Kansas I read about a small town in the corner of Kansas that was being wiped from the map—on purpose.

Treece, KS was a heavy supplier of zinc and lead ore during WW I & II. After the 1950’s ore production declined and the once booming mining town turned into an environmental wasteland and subsequently, a Superfund site.

On one of my days off, I visited what was left of the town and interviewed  the mayor and other members of the dwindling community as they struggled with the choice to take money from a government buyout and leave or continue their lives in the only home they’d ever known. This was 2009. Just a few years later nearly all of the residents of Treece had left and the streets were turning back into grasslands.

The summer of 2012, I returned to Treece with co-producer Xela Herridge-Meyer to talk with residents about their lives and their former home. The result was this documentary produced by The Recollective and funded in part by the Kansas Humanities Council. 

“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.

Treece, KS: Ghost Town in the Making (aired first on May 19th, 2013 on Kansas Public Radio)
© 2024, Nina Porzucki